SJR 121

Joint Subcommittee Studying Creation of a Northern Virginia Regional Transportation Authority

October 11, 2000, Annandale

Joint subcommittee members began the meeting with a general discussion of whether or not they should recommend to the Governor and General Assembly the creation of a regional transportation authority for Northern Virginia. Among the opinions expressed:

  • Several members felt the need for greater linkage between land-use planning and transportation planning. Senator Mims urged that transportation decision-making be decentralized, so that transportation project decisions, funding decisions, and land-use decisions could all be made locally.
  • Mayor Donley supported implementation of the 2020 Plan, but feared that the necessary financial assets would not become available fast enough. He urged creation of a regional authority with bonding authority as a means of accelerating the pace of making transportation improvements. Delegate Rust agreed, adding that a lack of political will in Richmond made it necessary to take action regionally, but not on a locality-by-locality basis.
  • Delegate Marshall was not convinced that creation of an authority would remove the various impediments standing in the way of regional transportation improvements and wondered whether an authority should be given the power of eminent domain.
  • Several members thought it would be helpful to look at existing authorities--both within Virginia and elsewhere--that have been successful in improving transportation and adapt them to the Northern Virginia context. To varying degrees, several members urged that transportation revenues generated in Northern Virginia should be retained and spent locally, rather than transferred to Richmond and only partially returned to be spent on regional projects by the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
  • Ms. Hanley suggested giving the Transportation Coordinating Council (TCC) a revenue stream and bonding power and making it responsible for transportation programs throughout Planning District Eight. Several suggestions were made as to ways in which the size and selection of the TCC should be changed, if it were to be given this responsibility. Several members suggested that there should be a consolidation of existing regional and subregional transportation entities, not an increase in their number.

The focus of discussion then shifted to the precise mission of any new transportation entity and it was agreed that, at its next meeting, the panel would discuss the missions, organizations, and powers of successful transportation authorities and which of them might serve, at least in some degree, as a paradigm for a Northern Virginia regional transportation authority.

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