There was good news for Virginia motorists in 2010. Traffic deaths were at a record low, highway rest stops reopened and high-occupancy toll lanes are being built to hurry along commuters. But the bad news remains daunting, according to the year-end transportation assessment by AAA Mid-Atlantic. There's just not enough money for roads and the situation is growing serious enough that Virginia is going to have to do something to raise more cash, AAA concluded. "Cries to fix the transportation funding crisis of our nation and in the commonwealth of Virginia have reached a fever pitch again," AAA spokeswoman Martha Meade said. "Year after year, we see temporary and insufficient 'fixes' which do nothing to fix the underlying problem and delay the day when hard decisions will have to be made."

Gov. Bob McDonnell made transportation funding a top priority in his 2009 election bid, but failed to deliver on his controversial plan to raise that money by privatizing the state's liquor sales. The governor recently outlined a plan to provide $4 billion in transportation funding over the next three years, but most of that money would be borrowed through bond issues, and members of the General Assembly are already questioning whether the state can afford to take on more debt.

Instead of quick fixes, AAA spokeswoman Windy VanCuren said, Virginia needs a transportation fund "that can't be robbed to pay for other things."

"We want it to be specifically for transportation, kind of like a lock box on that transportation fund," VanCuren said.

Other Virginia transportation news is less grim.

Traffic fatalities in 2010 were at a record low for a second consecutive year. As of Dec. 30, there were 715 deaths on Virginia roads, down from 750 last year. And the National Highway Traffic Administration reported that deaths on Virginia's highways had already dropped 8.2 percent from 2008 to 2009.

AAA also praised the state for reopening highway rest stops that were closed by former Gov. Tim Kaine to cover budget shortfalls in 2009. McDonnell reopened the facilities shortly after finding more than $1 billion in unspent money during an audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

AAA officials are hoping Virginia will improve highway safety by making talking or texting on a cell phone and not wearing a seat belt primary offenses for which police officers can pull drivers over.

"It would make it easier to ticket people for breaking the law and help get the word out there that it is a law," VanCuren said.

Del. Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake, filed a bill in the General Assembly this month to make texting a primary offense, but seat belt bills have repeatedly failed in the General Assembly.