Public Comments for 01/14/2021 Transportation - Transportation Systems Subcommittee
HB1813 - Highway construction by state or local employees; limit.
Last Name: Bennett Organization: Virginia Association of Counties Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) supports HB 1813 and HB 1903.

Last Name: Allwine Organization: Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Fredericksburg

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce supports HB1910. All localities should have the right to create a Regional Transportation Authority. A regional transportation authority in our area could: 1) Raise over $35 million annually reducing the burden on state budgets 2) Increase funding for transit, rail, and road projects desperately needed 3) Give the region funding to match or leverage Smart Scale funds increasing the effectiveness of that program 4) Increase economic opportunity for the over 350,000 residents in the Fredericksburg region Please vote to support HB1910.

HB1832 - Virginia Highway Corporation Act; alteration of certificate of authority, powers and duties of SCC.
Last Name: deButts Organization: Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Locality: Leesburg

Members of the House Transportation Committee, The Loudoun Chamber, which collectively represents over 1,000 member businesses and tens of thousands of employees across Loudoun County and the region, would like to express our organization’s support of Delegate Subramanyam’s Bill, HB1832. This bill will contribute greatly to our goal of making the Dulles Greenway an economic asset to our community rather than a financial liability for the thousands of employees that rely on it for transportation to and from their jobs, future access to Metro stations, as well as for businesses that utilize the road as a vital east west access to Dulles Airport. The extremely high cost of tolls on the Dulles Greenway for employees that drive to, and through, our community has demonstrably discouraged local drivers from using the roadway and seek alternatives on local roads and neighborhood streets. This conclusion can be clearly drawn from the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Annual Traffic Data Report. That report shows, while Greenway usage has decreased in recent years, traffic on surrounding roads has grown dramatically as drivers seek more affordable routes. WTOP Radio News, the top news station in our Nation’s Capital, reports that while Loudoun has long been one of Virginia’s fastest growing counties, the Greenway’s own annual report shows that in 2018, traffic at the main toll plaza declined by 4.5%. Additionally, the statute governing the Dulles Greenway’s toll rates states TRIP II is owed “no more than a reasonable rate of return as determined by the Commission.” In our view, TRIP II consistently seeks returns far greater than those they should be allowed under the statute. We believe a reasonable rate of return should be based on the depreciated original cost of the road and on any additional costs involved with maintaining and improving the facility. Currently TRIP II includes many factors far outside and beyond the original cost and ongoing maintenance in determining and justifying requests for toll increases. For these reasons, the Loudoun Chamber respectfully requests that the Committee votes to pass HB1832. Thank you for considering the perspective of our businesses and their employees on this issue of significant concern to the community we serve. Grafton deButts Vice President of Membership & Government Affairs Loudoun Chamber

Last Name: Campolattaro Organization: Loudoun County CEO Cabinet and Managing Director Hilb Group MA Locality: Brambleton

As the chair of the CEO Cabinet of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, I pledge support for bill HB 1832. The CEO Cabinet comprises the leadership of more than 50 businesses here in Loudoun County, which employ many thousands of Loudoun County citizens. The economic well-being and quality of life for these employees and their families is a vital part of what we work to sustain – and this application proposes to continue to negatively impact that for years to come. I have an understanding of the facts, but we want to reinforce a few key points to summarize the reasons for our opposition. - TRIP II already enjoys the benefits of unreasonably high rates based on years of large increases. - TRIP II's high rates unreasonably discourage travel on the toll road -- the Northern Virginia population has steadily increased while traffic on the toll road has steadily decreased. - This fact has caused additional large expense for local governments to enhance multiple surrounding roadways as commuters over-use those in lieu of the toll road. - If rates were more reasonable, more of our employees could use the toll road and save time and fuel expenses incurred by expressly avoiding that route. - All of the above points would be more than sufficient argument in a non-pandemic environment however, given the extreme economic hardship brought about by COVID-19, continued broad approval of increases would be inappropriate. Sincerely, Dario A. Campolattaro

HB1850 - Motor vehicle weight limits; vehicles powered primarily by electric battery power, etc.
Last Name: Gonzalez Organization: Tesla - Supporting HB1850 Locality: Richmond

Tesla fully supports Delegate Reid's HB1850. We testified in subcommittee this morning and also sent an official letter from the company to all members of the committee. Thank you.

Last Name: Gonzalez Organization: Tesla Locality: Richmond

I have a letter from the company to submit.

HB1893 - New River Valley Passenger Rail Station Authority; creation of authority in Planning District 4.
Last Name: Campblin Locality: Fairfax

This is a great proposal to help increase mobility options in western/rural virginia.

Last Name: Melvin Organization: Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Locality: Richmond

Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on behalf of the members of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association I would like to take a moment to impart our support for HB1893. We believe this measure will help spur additional tourism to Southwest Virginia, and urge you to support it.

Last Name: Hager-Smith Organization: Town of Blacksburg Locality: Blacksburg

Trying again -- -Mike Barber's code is 983298 -- Can I get into a waiting room?

Last Name: Hager-Smith Organization: Town Locality: Blacksburg

I have no code and can't apparently get on

Last Name: Durkin Organization: Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Roanoke

The Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce strongly supports this initiative to increase the prevalence of passenger rail in Virginia's Blue Ridge Region. Passenger rail is one more tool that can be used to alleviate traffic pressures, as well as provide a new link to Amazon HQ2 and Virginia Tech's Innovation Campus in northern Virginia.

Last Name: Plaugher Organization: Virginians for High Speed Rail Locality: Henrico, Virginia

Virginians for High Speed Rail supports this legislation and hopes that it advances.

HB1903 - Local government; authority to reduce the speed limit in a business district or residence district.
Last Name: Bennett Organization: American Heart Association Locality: Chesterfield

Dear Transportation Committee members- On behalf of the American Heart Association, we support HB1903. It is an important step to increase active transportation throughout the Commonwealth. In the future, we hope the General Assembly will consider Complete Streets legislation that will continue to ensure we have a safe, equitable, multimodal transportation network through the strategy of requiring that every road construction and reconstruction project makes a street safe and comfortable for all users, preferably with prioritization of investment in communities that have historically been underserved. Chelsi Bennett, J.D. Virginia Government Relations Director American Heart Association

Last Name: Bennett Organization: Virginia Association of Counties Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) supports HB 1813 and HB 1903.

Last Name: Tyndall Organization: Sports Backers Locality: Petersburg

Sports Backers, as a leading member of a coalition, strongly supports this bill. We are an award winning 30 year old nonprofit sports commission in the Richmond region known for large scale participatory sporting events, and ensuring the safety of people biking, walking, running, strolling, or using wheelchairs is critical to our mission of getting people active and healthy. Pedestrian crash and fatality statistics are through the roof. Speeding is largely unchecked and responsible for hundreds of deaths a year in Virginia. These are true for the Richmond region, as well, where we are seeing all time records in some of our localities for pedestrian deaths. Where speed limits are increased, there has been marked increases in traffic fatalities. The reverse will be true, prioritizing where people walk and bike in their neighborhoods, retail corridors, schools, and campuses. Thank you for supporting this common sense legislation. Brantley Tyndall, Sports Backers Richmond, VA

Last Name: Smiley, Mitchell Organization: Virginia Municipal League Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Municipal League supports the intent of HB1903 to expand the authority of localities to determine the appropriate speed of vehicle traffic in their communities. It is well established by numerous research studies that reduced vehicle speeds decrease the risk of severe injury and death to pedestrians during vehicle pedestrian collisions. HB1903 provides localities with the authority to reduce speed limits below 25 mph and serve to add to the array of tools localities have to create safer streets for all road users as localities seek to create safer communities. I thank Delegate Carr for carrying this legislation.

HB1910 - Regional transportation authorities; creation.
Last Name: Vanuch Organization: Stafford County Board of Supervisors Locality: Stafford County

Dear Delegates, The Stafford County Board of Supervisors (Board) wishes to express its opposition to House Bill 1910. This bill proposes to create a Fredericksburg Regional Transportation Improvement Committee comprised of the member localities of Planning District 16. Neither the Board of Supervisors, County staff, nor the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) were consulted prior to the introduction of this legislation. The Board has the following concerns about this proposed legislation:  HB 1910 Impedes the Efforts of FAMPO and GWRC – FAMPO and GWRC are the bodies responsible for regional transportation planning and distribution of state and federal transportation funds to regional transportation efforts in Planning District 16.  HB 1910 Places an Unfair Funding Burden on Stafford County – HB 1910 proposes that the member localities fund the Fredericksburg Regional Transportation Improvement Committee with contribution amounts based on the relative population of each locality.  HB 1910 Denies Stafford Fair Representation – The Fredericksburg Regional Transportation Improvement Committee’s voting members would include the member localities of Planning District 16, Under this funding model, Stafford would be required to contribute more of it’s local taxpayer dollars to the Committee but would not receive a commensurate share of voting privileges.  HB 1910 Limits Local Eligibility for Federal and State Transportation Funding – The introduction of another transportation body in Planning District 16 with access to funding will further dilute an already small funding pot of state and federal transportation dollars.  HB 1910 Reduces Local Control over Transportation Planning – Localities know best the conditions of their road networks and the specific demands of their residents. Creating this Committee will reduce local control and prioritize regional initiatives over locality specific transportation needs, thereby minimizing effective local transportation planning. The Stafford County Board of Supervisors intends to adopt proposed Resolution R21-77, formally opposing HB 1910, at its February 2nd meeting. Given the fast-moving nature of the General Assembly, it is imperative the legislators be aware of our opposition and the circumstances surrounding this proposed legislation. We respectfully urge you to oppose this legislation. Sincerely, Crystal L. Vanuch, Chairman Stafford County Board of Supervisors Rock Hill District

Last Name: Grammer Locality: Roanoke

My name is Stephen Grammer, from Roanoke Virginia. Transportation is a huge barrier for the disability community. I encourage you to pass HB1910. This will allow us to travel. We need to go without any barriers between different counties and cities. Again, I encourage you to pass HB1910. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Last Name: Jamerson Organization: Virginia League of Conservation Voters Locality: Richmond

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters requests this bill go by for the day in order to resolve several concerns: This bill authorizes any two or more adjacent counties or cities to create a regional transportation authority. Any such authority is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth. Membership can subsequently be expanded to include any locality within the region that would have been eligible to be an initial member. This would mean even more regional transportation authorities that are increasingly causing concern because they can evade a number of key federal requirements and possibly state oversight as well. Indeed, this bill would seem to give them clear authority to take on state highway projects as long as they consult with the CTB. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this bill further with the bill patron.

Last Name: Pollard Organization: Southern Environmental Law Center Locality: Chesterfield

HB 1910 authorizes any two or more adjacent counties or cities to create a regional transportation authority. Any such authority would be a political subdivision of the Commonwealth with broad powers. While we do not oppose this bill at this time, it does raise serious concerns. In the past 5 years, the General Assembly has authorized or created regional transportation authorities in the Commonwealth’s three largest regions (Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and Richmond) and on the I-81 corridor. This bill would substantially expand that scope allowing any two localities not part of one of these authorities to create their own authority. Each of these new authorities would be a political subdivision of the Commonwealth with significant powers. The potential proliferation of unelected political subdivisions raises issues such as accountability. And it further balkanizes Virginia’s transportation program. Moreover, there are already growing concerns about the ability of the regional transportation authorities that have already been created to fund projects on state highways that increase future maintenance costs state taxpayers must bear without approval by the Commonwealth Transportation Board. In addition, these authorities in some cases have sought to evade key federal environmental requirements and possibly state oversight as well. Since the existing transportation authorities are limited to regions with a significant number of localities, population, and geographic area, these concerns are somewhat lessened but still need to be addressed with regard to existing authorities. These concerns will be magnified if HB 1910 passes and any two localities can create such an authority. At the very least, it might be in order to study the track record and impacts of regional transportation authorities before such a broad potential expansion, and to require at least major projects pursued by any additional transportation authority to at least require CTB approval and provide for some level of environmental review. These concerns should be addressed before this bill goes any further. Thank you. Trip Pollard Senior Attorney Southern Environmental Law Center

Last Name: Fried Organization: Atlantic Builders Locality: Fredericksburg

I support HB1910. This is long overdue to give our Fredericksburg Region the opportunity to Raise over $35 million annually reducing the burden on state budgets and increase funding for transit, rail, and road projects desperately needed. Thank you to Delegate Joshua Cole for your leadership.

Last Name: Spears Organization: Fredericksburg Regional Chamber Locality: Fredericksburg

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce supports this legislation.

Last Name: Allwine Organization: Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Locality: Fredericksburg

The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce supports HB1910. All localities should have the right to create a Regional Transportation Authority. A regional transportation authority in our area could: 1) Raise over $35 million annually reducing the burden on state budgets 2) Increase funding for transit, rail, and road projects desperately needed 3) Give the region funding to match or leverage Smart Scale funds increasing the effectiveness of that program 4) Increase economic opportunity for the over 350,000 residents in the Fredericksburg region Please vote to support HB1910.

End of Comments