SJR 60: Virginia's Future Transportation Needs
September 8, 2006
The joint subcommittee,
co-chaired by Senator Martin E. Williams and Delegate Leo C. Wardrup,
Jr., held its first meeting on September 8, 2006, at George Mason University.
Other members of the joint subcommittee are Senators Charles R. Hawkins,
Janet D. Howell, and J. Brandon Bell II and Delegates Joe T. May, John
J. Welch III, William H. Fralin, Jr., Johnny S. Joannou, and David W.
opened the meeting by stating that one of the major goals of the joint
subcommittee is to determine what the 21st century Virginia Department
of Transportation (VDOT) should look like structurally and emphasized
that members were not charged to analyze the current funding of VDOT.
Chairman Wardrup concurred and added that members will look to the future
and that discussions will include rail as a vital mode of transportation,
which should play a significant role in the future of Virginia's transportation
The joint subcommittee
was formed in response to SJR 60 (2006) to study the role of the Commonwealth
and its agencies in meeting Virginia's future transportation needs. The
members will study:
• A redefined
role of the Commonwealth, regional entities, and local governments in
the devolution of a unified state road system.
• Revised and restructured functions of state agencies to concentrate
on planning and contract management instead of direct facility construction,
operation, and service delivery.
• Changes in the number of employees and the appropriations required
for state administration.
- Chairman, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority
Mr. Snyder emphasized the importance of Northern Virginia to the state
due to the great number of jobs and tax dollars generated in the region.
He noted that each job within Northern Virginia results in roughly 50%
more state tax One of the major goals of the joint subcommittee is to
determine what the 21st century Virginia VDOT should look like structurally;
the study does not call for an analysis of current VDOT funding. dollars
than the average job elsewhere in the Commonwealth. He described briefly
Northern Virginia's new long-range transportation plan, TransAction 2030,
which calls for nearly $700 million in additional transportation funding
annually for Northern Virginia over the next 25 years. He urged the members
to give localities more decision-making and implementation powers and
emphasized that the transportation problems are critical and require a
statewide solution. The major concern is that if transportation is not
addressed, it may result in private sector businesses moving out of Northern
Virginia. The joint subcommittee discussed the many transportation options
that have been considered in alleviating Northern Virginia and statewide
transportation woes, including:
• Devolution of VDOT.
• Revenue-sharing programs.
• More authority to localities to solve transporta-tion problems.
• Growth management tools.
• Land-use planning.
• Tax referendum for transportation.
Mr. Snyder stated
that several options may be viable if the state would come forward with
a significant statewide contribution and a sustainable funding source
for transportation. He suggested that funding should be based on needs
such as transit ridership, traffic delays, and other specific problems,
and a restructuring of funding allocations may be in order. Mr. Snyder
explained that Northern Virginia is taking steps to address growth management,
but added his view that it would take up to 10 years to realize the benefits
of efforts to alleviate congestion with land-use planning as the only
- Office of the Governor
Mr. Roberts stated that the Governor looks forward to feedback from the
joint subcommittee. The Governor's Office supports a comprehensive solution
to transportation problems and would like to maintain momentum in an environment
receptive to reform. Mr. Roberts stated that the Governor supports efforts
to broaden the focus of transportation solutions, which includes land-use
DePasquale, P.E. - Engineer, VDOT
Mr. DePasquale gave a presentation on the process of building a highway
from the initial stages of study to construction. Members were briefed
on design, the environmental requirements that must be met both at the
state and the federal levels, the acquisition of right-of-way, and the
construction process. Mr. DePasquale informed the committee that VDOT
is becoming more of a manager with localities electing to take on their
own construction projects. He emphasized that even when the locality performs
the work, VDOT remains accountable and is responsible for meeting all
state and federal requirements. He noted that the majority of transportation
projects are federally funded.
Reese - Chief Financial Officer at the Virginia Department of Transportation
Ms. Reese briefed the members on details of the VDOT organizational chart
and added that efforts were currently underway to outsource some agency
responsibilities. VDOT currently employees 9,800 people, two-thirds of
which are in the state’s nine construction districts. Ms. Reese's
presentation included an overview of VDOT highway spending and funding
and a summary of VDOT resources and obligations. A breakdown of the VDOT
budget was discussed.
A total budget of
$2.9 billion in FY 2006 includes:
$1.368 billion for maintenance.
• $713 million for construction.
• Balance for administration and operation, debt programs, and toll
roads. VDOT revenue sources include: • State motor fuels tax.
• Motor vehicle sales and use tax.
• Motor vehicles license fee.
• State general sales and use tax.
Ms. Reese explained
that it is VDOT’s position that if no additional funding sources
for transportation are identified and implemented, sufficient money will
not be available to match federally funded construction projects by 2013.
She reminded the members that moneys in the Highway Maintenance and Operating
Fund cannot be used to service debt and that some construction money is
already being diverted to maintenance.
The next meeting
of the joint subcommittee will be held on October 13, 2006, at the Old
Dominion University campus. For additional information on meeting discussion,
as well as handouts, please see the study website sponsored by DLS.
The Hon. Martin
The Hon. Leo C.
Allen Wambold and
Stephanie, DLS Staff
of Legislative Services > Legislative
Record > 2006
| Legislative Services | General