Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission

§ 33.2-2600. Hampton Roads Transportation Fund

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund for Planning District 23 to be known as the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund, referred to in this chapter as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All revenues dedicated to the Fund pursuant to § 58.1-638 and Chapter 22.1 (§ 58.1-2291 et seq.) of Title 58.1 shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. The moneys deposited in the Fund shall be used solely for (i) new construction projects on new or existing highways, bridges, and tunnels in the localities comprising Planning District 23 as approved by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission and (ii) administrative and operating expenses as specified in subsection B of § 33.2-2605. The Commission shall give priority to those projects that are expected to provide the greatest impact on reducing congestion for the greatest number of citizens residing within Planning District 23 and shall ensure that the moneys shall be used for such construction projects.

The amounts dedicated to the Fund shall be deposited monthly by the Comptroller into the Fund and thereafter distributed to the Commission as soon as practicable for use in accordance with this chapter. If the Commission determines that such moneys distributed to it exceed the amount required to meet the current needs and demands to fund transportation projects pursuant to this chapter, the Commission may invest such excess moneys to the same extent and in the same manner as provided in subsection A of § 33.2-1525 for excess funds in the Transportation Trust Fund.

The amounts deposited into the Fund and the distribution and expenditure of such amounts shall not be used to calculate or reduce the share of federal, state, or local revenues otherwise available to participating localities. Further, such revenues and moneys shall not be included in any computation of, or formula for, a locality's ability to pay for public education, upon which appropriations of state revenues to local governments for public education are determined.

2013, c. 766, § 33.1-23.5:4; 2014, cc. 545, 678, 805; 2016, cc. 603, 608.

§ 33.2-2601. Commission created

The Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, referred to in this chapter as "the Commission," is hereby created as a body politic and as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth. The Commission shall embrace each county and city located in Planning District 23, which is established pursuant to Chapter 42 (§ 15.2-4200 et seq.) of Title 15.2.

2014, cc. 545, 678.

§ 33.2-2602. Composition of Commission

The Commission shall consist of 23 members as follows:

1. The chief elected officer of the governing body of each of the 10 cities embraced by the Commission;

2. A current elected official of each of the four counties embraced by the Commission, provided that such official (i) serves on the governing body of the county and (ii) has been appointed by resolution of such governing body to serve as the county's member on the Commission;

3. Three members of the House of Delegates who reside in different counties or cities embraced by the Commission, appointed by the Speaker of the House, and two members of the Senate who reside in different counties or cities embraced by the Commission, appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules; and

4. The following four persons serving as nonvoting ex officio members of the Commission: a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board who resides in a locality embraced by the Commission and is appointed by the Governor; the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, or his designee; the Commissioner of Highways, or his designee; and the Executive Director of the Virginia Port Authority, or his designee.

All members of the Commission shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. If a member of the Commission who represents a locality as provided in subdivision 1 or 2 is unable to attend a meeting of the Commission, he may designate another current elected official of such governing body to attend a meeting of the Commission. Such designation shall be for the purposes of one meeting and shall be submitted in writing or electronically to the Chairman of the Commission at least 48 hours prior to the affected meeting.

The Commission shall elect a chairman and vice-chairman from among its voting membership.

The Auditor of Public Accounts, or his legally authorized representatives, shall annually audit the financial accounts of the Commission, and the cost of such audit shall be borne by the Commission.

2014, cc. 545, 678; 2016, cc. 603, 608.

§ 33.2-2603. Staff

The Commission may employ a chief executive officer and such staff as it shall determine to be necessary to carry out its duties and responsibilities under this chapter. No such person shall contemporaneously serve as a member of the Commission. The Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation shall make their employees available to assist the Commission, upon request.

2014, cc. 545, 678.

§ 33.2-2604. Decisions of Commission

A majority of the Commission, which majority shall include at least a majority of the total of chief elected officers and elected officials who represent the counties and cities embraced by the Commission, or their designees pursuant to § 33.2-2602, shall constitute a quorum. Decisions of the Commission shall require a quorum and shall be in accordance with voting procedures established by the Commission. In all cases, decisions of the Commission shall require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Commission, or their designees, present and voting, and two-thirds of the total of chief elected officers and elected officials who represent the counties and cities embraced by Planning District 23, or their designees, who are present and voting and whose counties and cities include at least two-thirds of the population embraced by the Commission; however, no motion to fund a specific facility or service shall fail because of this population criterion if such facility or service is not located or to be located or provided or to be provided within the county or city whose chief elected officer's or elected official's, or its respective designee's, sole negative vote caused the facility or service to fail to meet the population criterion. The population of counties and cities embraced by the Commission shall be the population as determined by the most recently preceding decennial census, except that on July 1 of the fifth year following such census, the population of each county and city shall be adjusted, based on population estimates made by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia.

2014, cc. 545, 678; 2015, c. 232; 2016, cc. 603, 608.

§ 33.2-2605. Annual budget and allocation of expenses

A. The Commission shall adopt an annual budget and develop a funding plan and shall provide for such adoption in its bylaws. The funding plan shall provide for the expenditure of funds over a four- to six-year period and shall align with the Statewide Transportation Plan established pursuant to § 33.2-353 as much as possible. The Commission shall solicit public comment on its budget and funding plan by posting a summary of such budget and funding plan on its website and holding a public hearing. Such public hearing shall be advertised on the Commission's website and in a newspaper of general circulation in Planning District 23.

B. The administrative and operating expenses of the Commission shall be provided in an annual budget adopted by the Commission and to the extent funds for such expenses are not provided from other sources shall be paid from the Fund. Such budget shall be limited solely to the administrative and operating expenses of the Commission and shall not include any funds for construction or acquisition of transportation facilities or the performance of any transportation service.

C. Members may be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825, if approved by the Commission. Funding for the costs of compensation and expenses of the members shall be provided by the Commission.

2014, cc. 545, 678; 2016, cc. 603, 608.

§ 33.2-2606. Authority to issue bonds

The Commission may issue bonds and other evidences of debt as may be authorized by this section or other law. The provisions of Article 5 (§ 33.2-1920 et seq.) of Chapter 19 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the issuance of such bonds or other debt. The Commission may issue bonds or other debt in such amounts as it deems appropriate. The bonds may be supported by any funds available, except that funds from tolls collected pursuant to § 33.2-2607 shall be used only as provided in that section.

2014, cc. 545, 678.

§ 33.2-2607. Powers of the Commission

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of this title and in accordance with all applicable federal statutes and requirements, the Commission shall control and operate and may impose and collect tolls in amounts established by the Commission for the use of any new or improved highway, bridge, or tunnel, to increase capacity on such facility or to address congestion within Planning District 23, constructed by the Commission (i) with federal, state, or local funds, (ii) solely with revenues of the Commission, or (iii) with revenues under the control of the Commission. The amount of any such toll may be varied from facility to facility, by lane, by congestion levels, by day of the week, by time of day, by type or size of vehicle, by number of axles, or by any similar combination thereof or any other factor the Commission may deem proper, and a reduced rate may be established for commuters as defined by the Commission. All such tolls shall be used for programs and projects that are reasonably related to or benefit the users of the new or improved highway, bridge, or tunnel, including, but not limited to, for the debt service and other costs of bonds whose proceeds are used for construction or improvement of such highway, bridge, or tunnel.

Any tolls imposed by the Commission shall be collected by an electronic toll system that, to the extent possible, shall not impede the traffic flow of the facility or prohibit a toll facility from retaining means of nonautomated toll collection in some lanes of the facility. For all facilities tolled by the Commission, there shall be signs erected prior to the point of toll collection that clearly state how the majority of the toll revenue is being spent by the Commission to benefit the users of the facility.

2014, cc. 545, 678.

§ 33.2-2608. Additional powers of the Commission

A. The Commission shall have the following powers together with all powers incidental thereto or necessary for the performance of those hereinafter stated:

1. To sue and be sued and to prosecute and defend, at law or in equity, in any court having jurisdiction of the subject matter and of the parties;

2. To adopt and use a corporate seal and to alter the same at its pleasure;

3. To procure insurance, participate in insurance plans, and provide self-insurance; however, the purchase of insurance, participation in an insurance plan, or the creation of a self-insurance plan by the Commission shall not be deemed a waiver or relinquishment of any sovereign immunity to which the Commission or its officers, directors, employees, or agents are otherwise entitled;

4. To establish bylaws and make all rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter, deemed expedient for the management of the Commission's affairs;

5. To apply for and accept money, materials, contributions, grants, or other financial assistance from the United States and agencies or instrumentalities thereof; the Commonwealth; and any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Commonwealth; and from any legitimate private source;

6. To acquire real and personal property or any interest therein by purchase, lease, gift, or otherwise for purposes consistent with this chapter and to hold, encumber, sell, or otherwise dispose of such land or interest for purposes consistent with this chapter;

7. To acquire by purchase, lease, contract, or otherwise, highways, bridges, or tunnels and to construct the same by purchase, lease, contract, or otherwise;

8. In consultation with the Commonwealth Transportation Board and with each city or county in which the facility or any part thereof is or is to be located, to repair, expand, enlarge, construct, reconstruct, or renovate any or all highways, bridges, and tunnels within Planning District 23 and to acquire any real or personal property needed for any such purpose;

9. To enter into agreements or leases with public or private entities for the operation and maintenance of bridges, tunnels, transit and rail facilities, and highways;

10. To make and execute contracts, deeds, mortgages, leases, and all other instruments and agreements necessary or convenient for the performance of its duties and the exercise of its powers and functions under this chapter;

11. To the extent funds are made or become available to the Commission to do so, to employ employees, agents, advisors, and consultants, including without limitation attorneys, financial advisers, engineers, and other technical advisers and, the provisions of any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, to determine their duties and compensation; and

12. To the extent not inconsistent with the other provisions of this chapter, and without limiting or restricting the powers otherwise given the Commission, to exercise all of the powers given to transportation district commissions by § 33.2-1919.

B. The Commission shall comply with the provisions governing localities contained in § 15.2-2108.23.

2014, cc. 545, 678.

§ 33.2-2609. Commission a responsible public entity under Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995

The Commission is a responsible public entity as defined in § 33.2-1800 and shall be regulated in accordance with the terms of the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.) and regulations and guidelines adopted pursuant thereto.

2014, cc. 545, 678.

§ 33.2-2610. Continuing responsibilities of the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the Department of Transportation

Except as otherwise explicitly provided in this chapter, until such time as the Commission and the Department of Transportation, or the Commission and the Commonwealth Transportation Board, agree otherwise in writing, the Commonwealth Transportation Board shall allocate funding to and the Department of Transportation shall perform or cause to be performed all maintenance and operation of the bridges, tunnels, and roadways and shall perform such other required services and activities with respect to such bridges, tunnels, and roadways as were being performed on July 1, 2014.

2014, cc. 545, 678.

§ 33.2-2611. Use of revenues by the Commission

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, all moneys received by the Commission shall be used by the Commission solely for the benefit of those counties and cities that are embraced by the Commission, and such moneys shall be used by the Commission in a manner that is consistent with the purposes stated in this chapter.

2014, cc. 545, 678.