McDonnell touts good news on roads — and oysters

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Virginia’s transportation and oyster businesses are booming, according to the office of Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The governor’s office announced that 10 highway projects, including the Interstate 66/U.S. 15 interchange reconstruction in Prince William County, are going to provide almost 3,700 direct jobs during construction, $191 million in personal income, and $14.8 million in state and local tax revenues and other benefits. The projects were funded by the $4 billion transportation package the governor shepherded through the General Assembly last year.

According to the analysts, another $32.2 million active traffic management (ATM) project along I-66 in Fairfax and Prince William is estimated to provide 43 jobs over two years during its installation, $2.85 million in personal income, $4 million in gross state product, $245,000 in state tax revenue, and $29,000 in local tax revenue. The project will use message signs, radar detectors and cameras to expedite responses to accidents by changing the posted speed or opening shoulder lanes.

The governor’s office also announced that the state’s 2011 oyster harvest was its best since 1989, at 236,000 bushels. That’s up from 23,000 in 2001, and was valued at $8.26 million.

“Virginia oysters are not only delicious, they are also profitable,” Mr. McDonnell said. “Our oysters are hitting tables all across the nation and the world, on the half-shell, fried, steamed, roasted and in stew. Whether they be Stingrays, Chincoteagues, Lynnhavens, or any kind of Virginia oyster, they are in demand.”

And — he couldn’t resist.

“And, I would also note, nothing goes better with a half-dozen Virginia oysters on the half-shell than a glass of Virginia Viognier, the signature white wine of the Commonwealth,” he added.

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