SJR 121

Joint Subcommittee Studying Creation of a Northern Virginia Regional Transportation Authority

July 12, 2000, Annandale

Chairman's Remarks

In his opening remarks, Chairman Barry stated his hope that the joint subcommittee would be able to find appropriate and acceptable mechanisms for generating additional funds needed to address the transportation needs of Northern Virginia. He cautioned that to succeed in this endeavor, the joint subcommittee would need to overcome various "parochial interests." He expected that the mandate given the joint subcommittee under SJR 121 could not be fulfilled in time to make a final report to the 2001 Session of the General Assembly and that the panel's mandate would have to be extended through 2001, with a final report to the 2002 Session.

In response to a comment by Senator Howell, Chairman Barry said it was his intention that the joint subcommittee focus its efforts on dealing with the transportation needs only of Northern Virginia. He felt that if Northern Virginia's efforts were successful, other jurisdictions in the Washington metropolitan region could choose either to join with Northern Virginia in those efforts or copy them in their localities. George Mason University, the chairman explained, had offered to assist the work of the joint subcommittee and would be very much involved with its work.

Work Plan

The members then engaged in a general discussion of a draft work plan, which envisaged spending the balance of 2000 in documenting the transportation needs of Northern Virginia and exploring the existing state and regional processes that attempt to meet those needs. Beginning in the spring of 2001, the members would consider various transportation authority models and determine their usefulness in better meeting the region's demonstrated transportation needs. The panel's findings and recommendations would then be embodied in a report to the Governor and 2002 Session of the General Assembly, accompanied by draft legislation intended to implement its recommendations.

Several members, while conceding the need for additional resources to meet Northern Virginia's transportation needs, expressed reservations as to whether creation of another governmental or even quasi-governmental entity was an appropriate step to take.

The chairman concluded the meeting with the observation that, "the state must maintain at least its current level of effort."

The panel will meet again at 9:30 a.m. on September 13th and on the second Wednesday of each month through December of this year. All meetings will be held in the headquarters of the Northern Virginia Planning District Commission in Annandale.

The Honorable Warren E. Barry, Chairman
Legislative Services contact: Alan B. Wambold