Virginia’s Priorities Out of Whack

Anyone who manages a budget knows that how you spend your cash is all a matter of priorities.

The Commonwealth of Virginia would have us believe that it was unable to find $9 million – the cost to pave just one-half mile of Interstate – in the state transportation budget to keep 19 of its 42 rest areas open.

But a review of budgetary spending clearly shows that Virginia consciously decided that funding those rest areas simply wasn’t a priority.

According to Virginia’s stimulus website, Virginia was awarded $4.8 billion from the $787 billion stimulus passed by Congress in February. Of those funds, Virginia allocated $1 billion for state infrastructure projects, including $123 million for highway projects.

Other states like Texas, in turn, see the value in putting stimulus funds toward new and enhanced rest areas.

The Dallas Morning News reported this week that Texas plans to bid contracts worth $30 million to expand and improve its highway rest areas before year’s end. Texas is funding the new facilities from its share of the stimulus package.

Virginia should follow Texas’ lead, and re-evaluate which expenditures merit making it into the final budget.

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