2011 General Assembly Session
The 2011 Virginia General Assembly convened in Richmond on January 12th and adjourned on February 27th.
Transportation-wise, the main advancement was enactment of much of Governor McDonnell’s program including approximately $3 billion in bonds, the creation of the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and a number of internal reform measures.
The bond element consists of the accelerated sale ($1.8 billion over 3 years) of HB 3200 bonds originally authorized in 2007 and the authorization of the sale of $1.2 billion in federal GARVEE bonds over three years. The General Assembly reduced the initial size of the VTIP from $400 billion to $282.5 billion by reducing the proposed level of General Funds from $150 million to $32.5 million. The Governor has indicated he might try to increase the General Fund portion during the veto session beginning April 6th.
(For an illustrative list of projects that might be funded by this revenue, click here.)
Governor McDonnell’s proposal to privatize Virginia’s ABC stores and invest the one-time proceeds into the VTIB was rejected as was an attempt to lock-up the Transportation Trust Fund with a constitutional amendment. Also rejected were gubernatorial provisions to increase the percentage of General Fund surpluses assigned to transportation and to add transportation capital projects to capital outlay in years with revenue growth.
Particularly notable efforts by Northern Virginia Delegate Jim LeMunyon to prioritize road and transit projects based on their ability to reduce congestion (HB 1998 and HB 1999) and provide state taxpayers with a seat on the WMATA Board (HB 2000) passed the House by wide margins and bipartisan support, but were summarily defeated in the Senate Finance Committee at the behest of Northern Virginia Senators.
While authorization of new bond funding and creation of the VTIB are positive development, the political will to provide the new sustainable revenue Virginia requires building the transportation network it needs and maintaining the network it has already built has yet to materialize.
In fact legislation (HB 1892) introduced by Northern Virginia Delegate Vivian Watts to provide new sustainable funding for statewide maintenance and Northern Virginia road and transit projects was not even given the courtesy of a hearing in the House of Delegates.
A full quarter century has now passed since the Virginia General Assembly last (1986) authorized new, sustainable transportation revenue.
The perpetual unwillingness to provide such revenue speaks ill of Virginia’s professed commitment to being a job-friendly, quality of life-friendly and fiscally responsible state.
As matters stand now, the transportation legacy being left to our children is quite shameful.
Key Transportation Bills: For a listing of key transportation bills considered during the 2011 session, click here.
All Legislation: To find descriptions and resolution of all 2011 bills and resolutions, visit the Legislative Information Service homepage.
Here's How You Can Make a Difference
The Alliance actively tracks important transportation legislation as the session progresses. Please sign up to receive our free Alliance Alert email, the easiest way to stay appraised of the situation in Richmond and important transportation developments in general from the comfort of your inbox.
During the course of each legislative session there will be several opportunities to weigh in on key legislation. Use the resources below to ensure your voice is heard during and between sessions.
To find out who your legislators are, click here.
Northern Virginia Delegation: For contact information for Northern Virginia Senators and Delegates, click here.
All Legislators: For contact information for legislators across the Commonwealth, click here.
Key Committee Membership:
For contact information for House Appropriations, Finance and Transportation Committee members, click here.
For contact information for Senate Finance and Transportation Committee members, click here.
Executive Branch: For contact information for the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General, click here.