Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
6/17/2019

Article 4. Powers and Functions of Commission.

§ 33.2-1915. Powers and functions generally.

A. Notwithstanding any other contrary provision of law, a commission shall, except as provided in subsection B, have the following powers and functions:

1. The commission shall prepare the transportation plan for the transportation district and shall revise and amend the plan in accordance with the planning process and procedures specified in Article 7 (§ 33.2-1928 et seq.).

2. The commission may, when a transportation plan is adopted according to Article 7 (§ 33.2-1928 et seq.), construct or acquire, by purchase or lease, the transportation facilities specified in such transportation plan.

3. The commission may enter into agreements or leases with private companies for the operation of its facilities or may operate such facilities itself.

4. The commission may enter into contracts or agreements with the counties and cities within the transportation district, with counties and cities that adjoin the transportation district and are within the same planning district, or with other commissions of adjoining transportation districts to provide, or cause to be provided, transit facilities and service to such counties and cities or to provide transit facilities and other modes of transportation between adjoining transportation districts. Such contracts or agreements, together with any agreements or leases for the operation of such facilities, may be utilized by the transportation district to finance the construction and operation of transportation facilities, and such contracts, agreements, or leases shall inure to the benefit of any creditor of the transportation district.

However, except in any transportation district containing any or all of the Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico or the City of Richmond, being so delegated by the respective local governments, the commission shall not have the power to regulate services provided by taxicabs, either within municipalities or across municipal boundaries, which regulation is expressly reserved to the municipalities within which taxicabs operate. In any transportation district containing any or all of the Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico or the City of Richmond, the commission may, upon proper authority granted by the respective component governments, regulate services provided by taxicabs, either within localities or across county or city boundaries.

B. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission:

1. Shall not prepare a transportation plan or construct or operate transit facilities, but shall collaborate and cooperate in the manner specified in Article 7 (§ 33.2-1928 et seq.) with an agency in preparing, revising, and amending a transportation plan for such metropolitan area.

2. Shall, according to Article 7 (§ 33.2-1928 et seq.) and in cooperation with the governing bodies of the component governments embraced by the transportation district, formulate the tentative policy and decisions of the transportation district with respect to the planning, design, location, construction, operation, and financing of transportation facilities.

3. May, when a transportation plan applicable to such a transportation district is adopted, enter into contracts or agreements with an agency to contribute to the capital required for the construction or acquisition of transportation facilities and for meeting expenses and obligations in the operations of such facilities.

4. May, when a transportation plan applicable to such transportation district is adopted, enter into contracts or agreements with the counties and cities within the transportation district to provide or cause to be provided transportation facilities and service to such counties and cities.

5. Notwithstanding any other provision in this section to the contrary:

a. May acquire land or any interest therein by purchase, lease, gift, condemnation, or otherwise and provide transportation facilities thereon for use in connection with any transportation service;

b. May acquire land or any interest therein by purchase, lease, gift, condemnation, or otherwise in advance of need for sale or contribution to an agency, for use by that agency in connection with an adopted mass transit plan;

c. May, in accordance with the terms of any grant from or loan by the United States of America or the Commonwealth, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, or when necessary to preserve essential transportation service, acquire transit facilities or any carrier that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission by acquisition of the capital stock or transit facilities and other assets of any such carrier and shall provide for the performance of transportation by any such carrier or with such transit facilities by contract or lease. However, the contract or lease shall be for a term of no more than one year, renewable for additional terms of similar duration, and, in order to assure acceptable fare levels, may provide for financial assistance by purchase of service, operating subsidies, or otherwise. No such service shall be rendered that will adversely affect transit service rendered by the transit facilities owned or controlled by the agency or any existing private transit or transportation company. When notified by the agency that it is authorized to perform or cause to be performed transportation services with motor vehicle facilities, the commission, upon request by the agency, shall transfer such capital stock or transit facilities to the agency at a price to be agreed upon; and

d. May prepare a plan for mass transportation services with cities, counties, agencies, authorities, or commissions and may further contract with transportation companies, cities, counties, commissions, authorities, agencies, and departments of the Commonwealth and appropriate agencies of the federal government or governments contiguous to the Commonwealth to provide necessary facilities, equipment, operations and maintenance, access, and insurance pursuant to such plan.

C. The provisions of subdivisions B 1 through 4 and subdivisions B 5 b and c shall not apply (i) to any transportation district that may be established on or after July 1, 1986, and that includes any one or more localities that are located within a metropolitan area, but that were not, on January 1, 1986, members of any other transportation district or (ii) to any locality that, after July 1, 1989, joins a transportation district that was established on or before January 1, 1986. The provisions of this subsection shall apply only to any transportation district or locality that is contiguous to the Northern Virginia Transportation District. Any such district or locality shall be subject to the provisions of subsection A and further may exercise the powers granted by subdivision B 5 a to acquire land or any interest therein by purchase, lease, gift, condemnation, or otherwise and provide transportation facilities thereon for use in connection with any transportation service.

D. Until such time as a commission enters into contracts or agreements with its component governments under the provisions of subdivisions A 4 and B 4 and is receiving revenues thereunder adequate to meet the administrative expenses of the commission after paying or providing for the payment of the obligations arising under said subdivisions, the administrative expenses of the commission shall be borne by the component governments in the manner set forth in this section. The commission annually shall submit to the governing bodies of the component counties and cities a budget of its administrative requirements for the next year.

E. The administrative expenses of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, to the extent funds for such expenses are not provided from other sources, shall be allocated among the component governments on the basis of population as reflected by the latest population statistics of the U.S. Census Bureau; however, upon the request of any component government, the commission shall make the allocation upon estimates of population prepared in a manner approved by the commission and by the governing body of the component government making such request. The administrative expenses of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, to the extent funds for such expenses are not provided from other sources, shall be allocated among the component governments on the basis of the relative shares of state and federal transit aids allocated by the Commission among its component governments. Such budget shall be limited solely to the administrative expenses of the Commission and shall not include any funds for construction or acquisition of transportation facilities or the performing of transportation service. In addition, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission annually shall submit to the governing bodies of the component counties and cities a budget of its other expenses and obligations for the ensuing year. Such expenses and obligations shall be borne by the component counties and cities in accordance with prior arrangements made therefor.

F. When a transportation plan has been adopted under subdivision 4 of § 33.2-1929, the commission shall determine the equitable allocation among the component governments of the costs incurred by the district in providing the transportation facilities proposed in the transportation plan and any expenses and obligations from the operation thereof to be borne by each county and city. In making such determinations, the commission shall consider the cost of the facilities located within each county and city, the population of each county and city, the benefits to be derived by each county and city from the proposed transportation service, and all other factors that the commission determines to be relevant. Such determination, however, shall not create a commitment by the counties and cities, and such commitments shall be created only under the contracts or agreements specified in subdivisions A 4 and B 4.

1964, c. 631, § 15.1-1357; 1970, c. 449; 1972, c. 791; 1974, cc. 161, 566; 1975, c. 6; 1976, c. 566; 1981, c. 444; 1985, c. 257; 1986, c. 438; 1987, c. 158; 1989, c. 150; 1991, c. 231; 1997, c. 587, § 15.1-4515; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 256.

§ 33.2-1916. Commission control of transportation district.

The commission may exercise exclusive control, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, of matters of regulation of fares, schedules, franchising agreements, and routing of transit facilities within the boundaries of its transportation district; however, the provisions of § 5.1-7 shall be applicable to airport commissions.

1972, c. 832, § 15.1-1357.1; 1973, c. 392; 1997, c. 587, § 15.1-4516; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1917. Protection of employees of public transportation systems.

In any county or city, the commission referred to in § 33.2-1915, in addition to other prohibitions, shall not operate any such transit facility, or otherwise provide or cause to be provided any transportation services, unless fair and equitable arrangements have been made for the protection of employees of existing public transportation systems in the transportation district or in the metropolitan area in which the transportation district is located. Such protections shall include (i) assurances of employment to employees of such transportation systems to the fullest extent possible consistent with sound management, and priority of employment or, if terminated or laid off, reemployment; (ii) preservation of rights, privileges, and benefits, including continuation of pension rights and benefits, under existing collective bargaining agreements or otherwise; (iii) continuation of collective bargaining rights; (iv) protection of individual employees against a worsening of their positions with respect to their employment, to the extent provided by 49 U.S.C. § 5333 (b), also known as § 13(c) of the Federal Transit Act; and (v) paid training and retraining programs. Such protections shall be specified by the commission in any contract or lease for the acquisition or operation of any such transit facilities or services. The employees of any transit facility operated by the commission shall have the right, in the case of any labor dispute relating to the terms and conditions of their employment for the purpose of resolving such dispute, to submit the dispute to final and binding arbitration by an impartial umpire or board of arbitration acceptable to the parties.

1974, c. 53, § 15.1-1357.2; 1997, c. 587, § 15.1-4517; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1918. Background checks of applicants and employees.

A. Any commission created pursuant to this chapter may require any individual who is offered a position of employment with the commission, or with any contractor of the commission when such individual is to be assigned to directly provide transit services to the public under a contract with the commission, to submit to fingerprinting and to provide personal descriptive information to be forwarded along with the individual's fingerprints through the Central Criminal Records Exchange to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the purpose of obtaining criminal history record information regarding such individual. The commission shall bear all costs of obtaining criminal history record information regarding such individual, including expenses incurred by the State Police in connection with such fingerprinting or criminal records check. The commission may require such individual or contractor to reimburse the commission for the cost of the fingerprinting or a criminal records check or both.

B. The Central Criminal Records Exchange, upon receipt of an individual's record or notification that no record exists, shall make a report to the commission's chief administrative officer, who must belong to a governmental entity. The information shall not be disseminated except as provided for in this section.

2010, cc. 189, 563, § 15.1-4517.1; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-1919. Additional powers.

Without limiting or restricting the general powers created by this chapter, the commission may:

1. Adopt and have a common seal and alter the seal at pleasure;

2. Sue and be sued;

3. Make regulations for the conduct of its business;

4. Make and enter into all contracts or agreements, as the commission may determine, that are necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and to the execution of the powers granted under this chapter;

5. Apply for and accept loans and grants of money or materials or property at any time from the United States of America or the Commonwealth or any agency or instrumentality thereof, for itself or as an agent on behalf of the component governments or any one or more of them, and in connection therewith purchase or lease as lessor or lessee any transit facilities required under the terms of any such grant made to enable the commission to exercise its powers under subdivision B 5 of § 33.2-1915;

6. In the name of the commission, and on its behalf, acquire, hold, and dispose of its contract or other revenues;

7. Exercise any power usually possessed by private corporations, including the right to expend, solely from funds provided under this chapter, such funds as may be considered by the commission to be advisable or necessary in the performance of its duties and functions;

8. Employ engineers, attorneys, other professional experts and consultants, and general and clerical employees deemed necessary and prescribe their powers and duties and fix their compensation;

9. Do anything authorized by this chapter under, through, or by its own officers, agents, and employees, or by contracts with any persons;

10. Execute instruments and do anything necessary, convenient, or desirable for the purposes of the commission or to carry out the powers expressly given in this chapter;

11. Institute and prosecute any eminent domain proceedings to acquire any property authorized to be acquired under this title in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1 and subject to the approval of the State Corporation Commission pursuant to § 25.1-102;

12. Invest in if required as a condition to obtaining insurance, participate in, or purchase insurance provided by foreign insurance companies that insure railroad operations, provided this power is available only to those commissions that provide rail services;

13. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8.01-195.3, contract to indemnify, and to obtain liability insurance to cover such indemnity, any person who is liable, or who may be subjected to liability, regardless of the character of the liability, as a result of the exercise by a commission of any of the powers conferred by this chapter. No obligation of a commission to indemnify any such person shall exceed the combined maximum limits of all liability policies, as defined in subsection C of § 33.2-1927, maintained by the commission; and

14. Notwithstanding any other contrary provision of law, regulate traffic signals and other traffic control devices within the district, through the use of computers and other electronic communication and control devices, so as to effect the orderly flow of traffic and to improve transportation services within the district; however, an agreement concerning the operation of traffic control devices acceptable to all parties shall be entered into between the commission and the Department and all the counties and cities within the transportation district prior to the commencement of such regulation.

1964, c. 631, § 15.1-1358; 1966, c. 419; 1970, c. 449; 1974, c. 529, § 15.1-1357.3; 1988, c. 834; 1997, c. 587, § 15.1-4518; 2003, c. 940; 2014, c. 805.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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