Virginia's Transportation Funding

The Commonwealth Transportation Fund receives revenues from dedicated state and federal sources. The major state revenues are based on Virginia’s official revenue forecast developed by the Department of Taxation. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation estimate the federal revenues from the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Revenues from the fund and other dedicated money sources finance the Six-Year Financial Plan adopted by the CTB. The plan totals $36.9 billion for FY 2019-2024.

The first priority for funding is maintaining existing infrastructure.This comes primarily from the financial plan’s Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund.

Some of the other funding sources in the plan go specifically to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission for transportation improvements in those regions. Funding also goes to rail and public transportation, administration and other programs. Dedicated revenue is made available for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Capital Fund beginning in Fiscal Year 2019.

House Bill 1887 modifies how the commonwealth distributes transportation revenue from the financial plan’s construction funding sources to maintain a State of Good Repair and address capital improvement needs.

The CTB prioritizes funding for State of Good Repair work to rehabilitate aging infrastructure based on bridge and paving needs.

The SMART SCALE prioritization system determines how funds will be programmed to capital improvement projects through the High Priority Project Program and the Construction District Grant Program.

After maintenance and other programs and needs are financed, remaining construction funding is distributed according to a new funding formula:

  • State of Good Repair of structures and pavement – 45 percent
  • High-Priority Projects Program for key statewide needs – 27.5 percent
  • District Grant Programs – 27.5 percent

Together, the State of Good Repair and SMART SCALE improve the commonwealth’s ability to fund the right projects generating the greatest benefit.

Six-Year Improvement Program

The Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) is a document that outlines planned spending for transportation projects proposed for construction development or study for the next six years.

The SYIP is updated annually and is the means by which the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) meets its statutory obligation under the Code of Virginia to allocate funds to interstate, primary, secondary and urban highway systems, public transit, ports and airports and other programs for the immediate fiscal year.  The SYIP also identifies planned program funding for the succeeding five fiscal years.  The CTB allocates funds for the first fiscal year of the SYIP, but the remaining five years are estimates of future allocations. Fiscal years start July 1 and end June 30.

The CTB updates the SYIP each year as revenue estimates are updated, priorities are revised, and project schedules and costs change.

Throughout the SYIP development process, there are various points of coordination with regional, metropolitan, and local groups, as well as opportunities for public participation .  Development of the SYIP begins in the Fall and the CTB hosts a series of meetings seeking public comment on transportation projects and priorities.  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) carry out various project selection processes and projects are recommended for funding in the Draft SYIP presented to the CTB in the Spring.  The CTB hosts a series of public hearings to receive feedback on proposed projects and recommends adjustments to the Draft SYIP as necessary.  A Final SYIP is presented to the CTB for adoption in June. 

The SYIP contains projects selected for funding through the statewide prioritization process, as well as projects funded through other programs including bridge, paving, safety, and other special federal and state programs.  The SYIP also includes projects that are funded by others but administered by VDOT.  Candidate projects can be submitted for consideration through the SMART Portal".  Individual projects are selected for funding and included in the SYIP, which is adopted by July 1 of each year.  

In general, it is the intent of the CTB that projects included in the SYIP are to be fully funded through construction and delivered according to the established budget and schedule. If a locality or metropolitan planning organization requests the termination of a project or fails to advance a project to the next phase, then the locality or localities within the metropolitan planning organization may be required to reimburse the Department for all funds expended on the project.

Allocations available in the following funding programs will be programmed in the SYIP annually:

  • State of Good Repair Program pursuant to §33.2-369
  • Regional Surface Transportation Program funds provided to metropolitan planning organizations pursuant to 23 U.S.C. §133
  • Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds pursuant to 23 U.S.C. §149
  • Highway Safety Improvement Program pursuant to 23 U.S.C. §148 and §154

Allocations available in the fifth and sixth year of the SYIP under development for the following funding programs will be programmed in even-numbered fiscal year SYIP updates:

  • High Priority Projects Program pursuant to §33.2-370  
  • Highway Construction District Grants Program pursuant to §33.2-371

Allocations available in the first and second year of the SYIP under development for the following funding programs will be programmed in odd-numbered fiscal year SYIP updates:

  • Revenue Sharing Program pursuant to §33.2-357
  • Surface Transportation Block Grant set-aside for Transportation Alternatives pursuant to 23 U.S.C. §133, excluding sub-allocated funds controlled by metropolitan planning organizations

Click here for a summary of various VDOT transportation funding programs and the biennial programming schedule

Subject to the provisions governing each of these programs, the CTB may adjust the timing of funds programmed to projects from previously adopted programs to meet the cash flow needs of the individual projects, maximize the use of federal funds, or to address revised revenue projections and project priorities.  As part of the annual SYIP update, funds no longer needed for the delivery of a project will be reallocated consistent with Board’s priorities for programming funds and federal/state eligibility requirements. 

Any funds from the State of Good Repair Program, High Priority Projects Program, or Construction District Grants Program no longer needed for the delivery of a project and will be reserved to address budget adjustments on existing projects selected within those programs or reserved for allocation in the next solicitation cycle for those programs.

Page last modified: Sept. 21, 2018