600 VDOT Employees Learn About Layoffs This Week

Construction workers losing jobs as construction projects get cut

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Transportation is informing about 600 full-time workers this week that they're losing their jobs.

The agency is notifying individual employees in its central Richmond office and its nine districts about the job reductions, VDOT Commissioner David Ekern said Monday. They are part of a previously announced plan to cut 1,000 full-time and 450 part-time workers to help address a projected six-year, $2.6 billion revenue shortfall. The agency currently has about 8,200 workers and is required to reduce staffing to 7,500 employees by next July.

The full-time worker layoffs follow last month's reductions of part-timers, and a final wave of layoffs is expected in the winter. Overall, the job cuts are expected to save the state about $391 million over six years, Ekern said.

The cuts announced this week will mainly affect workers statewide in preliminary engineering and construction, as road construction projects are being cut by $2 billion, or about 36 percent, over the next six years, Ekern said.

They include employees who help prepare construction plans, serve on inspection and survey crews, and assist with right-of-way acquisition.

Also affected will be the agency's equipment shops, as more than half will be closed because of equipment reductions and increased efficiency in maintenance practices. Employees of the Dulles Toll Road will also face layoffs when the state turns it over to the Metropolitan Airports Authority on Oct. 1.

Ekern stressed that emergency-response services, inspections and maintenance won't be affected by the layoffs.

Workers can apply for vacant jobs in VDOT or in other state agencies. Those who opt out of placement services will be laid off on Sept. 9; those who use them but are unable to find jobs will be let go Oct. 24.

In addition to layoffs and cuts in construction spending, VDOT also cut $348 million from its maintenance and operations program, resulting in the highly unpopular decision to close 19 interstate rest areas.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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