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2015 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Update

2015 Virginia General Assembly Legislative Update

The General Assembly adjourned on February 27, 2015.  They passed a series of transportation related bills along with others that have been forwarded to the Governor’s desk.  Governor Terry McAuliffe has until 12:00am, Sunday March 29, 2015 to sign the bills into law. 

One of the high profile bills that passed was House Bill 1887 (Transportation Funding: formula, reporting, and allocations).  HB1887 is a landmark bill that changes the allocations formula for construction projects as well as many other items.  The bill replaces the current 40-30-30 allocation formula to Primary, Secondary, and Urban highways with a new formula, beginning in 2021, to allocate funds to: State of good repair purposes (45%), High-priority projects (including rail and transit (27.5%)), and Highway construction district grants (27.5%).   HB 1887 does not include new revenues for transportation and all projects will be scored and ranked by a new prioritization process currently under development and scheduled to be adopted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in June of 2015 (The HB2 Statewide Prioritization Process).

Some of the other items in the HB 1887 legislation include the following:  Removes the Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority from the CTB, Makes members of the CTB subject to removal by the Governor for cause, removes the definition of ‘grants’ from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (VTIB) and allows the CTB to make transfers from the Toll Facilities Revolving Account to the VTIB, and authorizes the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to enter into agreements not to exceed 20 years under the Public-Private Partnership Act.

The following briefly summarizes additional transportation related bills that the 2015 General Assembly passed:

  • House Bill 1510 (HB 1510 Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC)) – Provides that population estimates used in the HRTAC voting structure shall be projections made by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia.
  • House Bill 1886 (HB 1886 Public-Private Transportation Act; finding of public interest) - further enhances the Public-Private Transportation Act in setting requirements to ensure that the public interest is protected.  One part of this bill requires that VDOT establish a process for identifying high risk projects and also procurement processes and guidelines for such projects.
  • Senate Bill 847 (SB 847 Interstate Transportation Compact) - details the requirements necessary for enacting an interstate transportation compact.  This is the type of compact that is needed for an initiative such as the Hampton Roads to Raleigh Highway Corridor-Future Interstate.
  • House Bill 1355 (HB 1355 Use of Photo Monitoring systems to enforce traffic light signals; appeals) - Provides an appeals process to the circuit court in a civil proceeding for motor vehicle operator violations of ordinances related to photo monitoring systems at traffic lights.
  • House Bill 1402 (HB 1402 Highway Maintenance Payments) - Provides that cities and towns will not have highway maintenance funds from the Commonwealth reduced from the conversion of moving lane miles of highways to two way bicycle travel lanes.
  • Senate Bill 1443 (SB 1443 Comprehensive plan; sea-level rise) - Provides that any locality included in the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission shall incorporate strategies to combat sea level rise and recurrent flooding into their comprehensive plan.

An amendment to Chapter 3, 2014 Special Session/Acts of Assembly makes technical corrections to language included in House Bill 1400/Senate Bill 800: Budget Bill, as introduced, which updated references to the distribution of regional transportation funding in Hampton Roads, and authorizes the transfer of Hampton Roads Transportation Fund revenues to the HRTAC now that the Authority has been established and organized.  It is important to note that the HRTF funds may be used for administrative expenses.

More information on General Assembly Bills available on the web at:

http://www.hrtpo.org/uploads/docs/2015%20GA%20Bills%20-%20Summary%20031615.pdf

 

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