Joint Subcommittee to Study Funding Unfunded Transportation Projects in Hampton Roads
October 9, 2001, Hampton Roads
The chairmen of the U.S. Route 460 Communications Committee (HJR 684, 2001) and the Hampton Roads Third Crossing Bridge-Tunnel Commission (HJR 125, 2000) briefed the joint subcommittee on the work of their respective study panels. While neither group has discussed specific legislative proposals that might be recommended to the General Assembly, both studies have multi-year mandates from the legislature and have not reached the point in their deliberations where draft legislation becomes a major agenda item. Several members felt that it would be useful, if a convenient time could be found, if all three panels could hold a joint meetingpossibly a public hearingat which all the transportation needs of the region could be discussed in a single forum.
The deputy director for transportation of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission made a presentation responding to questions asked and requests for further information made at the joint subcommittee's August 28 meeting in Virginia Beach. He again described the seven major unfunded projects in the Hampton Roads region (Third Crossing, Interstate 64 widening, Peninsula light rail, Route 460 improvements, Norfolk-Virginia Beach light rail, Midtown tunnel and Pinners Point connector, and Southeastern parkway and greenbelt), their costs, methods of regional priority setting, suggested revenue generation and distribution methods, and the need for additional funding resources to cover unfunded costs.
Staff briefed the panel on draft legislation, prepared at Senator Williams' request, establishing a Hampton Roads Regional Transportation Authority. This authority would compile a list of needed transportation projects of regional significance for which adequate funding had not been identified, identify the amount and source of new revenues that would be required to fully fund these projects, and submit this list of projects, revenue sources and amounts to the voters in the form of a referendum, to determine the will of the voters on imposition of additional taxes, tolls, and/or other user-fees to fund those projects. As the members were "walked through" the draft, the joint subcommittee gave staff various instructions to make changes in the draft and present these for further consideration at the panel's next meeting, to be held on December 10 at 10:00 a.m. in Newport News City Council Chambers.