The Virginia Department of Transportation has notified contractors that they should plan to halt work by May 1 because of the budget impasse in Richmond. A suspension would affect 473 construction and maintenance projects valued at $2.7 billion across the state, including bridges and interstate, primary, urban and secondary roads.
VDOT officials said Friday they are required to give contractors a two-month warning to wind down operations so they will have time to stop work and get paid. It takes weeks to shut down massive projects because they involve materials, heavy equipment, crews and work zones.
Also, school budgets must be adopted May 1, and county budgets by June 30. The deadline to inform teachers whether they will return to work next school year is Sunday, but most school districts have made decisions based on estimated budgets.
Robley Jones, director of government relations for the Virginia Education Association, said contracts allow district officials to terminate teachers if money is unavailable.
The General Assembly has been unable to agree on a budget that in essence helps pay for everything from prisons, road maintenance and colleges on the state level to courts, registrars and health care locally. Failure to adopt a spending plan by July 1 — the start of the state’s fiscal year — could lead to a government shutdown.
After failing to adopt a plan during the regular session that ended last month, legislative leaders appointed budget negotiators, who have agreed to a budget blueprint. Their agreement paves the way for a vote Tuesday, the day before the General Assembly is scheduled to consider Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s vetoes and amendments to non-budget bills.
Senate Republicans need at least one Democratic vote in the evenly divided chamber to approve the budget. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) can break tie votes but not on the
budget. Democrats had balked at previous budgets because they sought more