Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems

Chapter 25. Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

§ 33.2-2500. Northern Virginia Transportation Authority created.

There is hereby created a political subdivision of the Commonwealth known as the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, for purposes of this chapter referred to as "the Authority."

In addition to such other powers vested in the Authority by this chapter, the Authority shall have the following powers and functions:

1. The Authority shall prepare a regional transportation plan for Planning District 8 that includes transportation improvements of regional significance and those improvements necessary or incidental thereto and shall revise and amend the plan. The provisions of Article 7 (§ 33.2-1928 et seq.) of Chapter 19 shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to preparation of such transportation plan.

2. The Authority shall evaluate all significant transportation projects, including highway, mass transit, and technology projects, in and near Planning District 8, to the extent that funds are available for such purpose. The evaluation shall provide an objective, quantitative rating for each project according to the degree to which the project is expected to reduce congestion and, to the extent feasible, the degree to which the project is expected to improve regional mobility in the event of a homeland security emergency. Such evaluation shall rely on analytical techniques and transportation modeling, including those that employ computer simulations currently and customarily employed in transportation planning. The Authority may rely on the results of transportation modeling performed by other entities, including the Department of Transportation and private entities contracted for this purpose, provided that such modeling is in accordance with this section. The Authority shall publicize the quantitative ratings determined for each project on its website and complete the evaluation at least once every four years, with interim progress reports provided on the website at least once every six months.

For purposes of this section, the significant transportation projects to be evaluated may include:

a. Projects included in the version of the Financially Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board in effect when the evaluation is made, plus additional projects in the plan adopted according to subdivision 1; and

b. Other highway, rail, bus, and technology projects that could make a significant impact on mobility in the region, including additional Potomac River crossings west and south of Washington, D.C.; extension of the Metro Orange Line, Metro Yellow Line, and Metro Blue Line; bus rapid transit on Interstate 66; vehicle capacity and mass transit improvements on the U.S. Route 1 corridor; and implementation of relevant portions of the Statewide Transportation Plan established pursuant to § 33.2-353.

3. The Authority may, when a transportation plan is adopted according to subdivision 1, construct or acquire, by purchase, lease, contract, or otherwise, the transportation facilities specified in such transportation plan.

4. The Authority may enter into agreements or leases with public or private entities for the operation of its facilities or may operate such facilities itself.

5. The Authority may enter into contracts or agreements with the counties and cities embraced by the Authority, with other transportation commissions of transportation districts adjoining any county or city embraced by the Authority, with any transportation authority, or with any federal, state, local, or private entity to provide, or cause to be provided, transportation facilities and services to the area embraced by the Authority. Such contracts or agreements, together with any agreements or leases for the operation of such facilities, may be used by the Authority 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 Authority.

Notwithstanding subdivisions 1 through 5, the Authority shall not have the power to regulate services provided by taxicabs, either within municipalities or across municipal boundaries; such regulation is expressly reserved to the municipalities within which taxicabs operate.

6. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Authority may:

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

b. Acquire land or any interest therein by purchase, lease, or gift in advance of the need for sale or contribution to an agency, for use by that agency in connection with an adopted transportation plan; and

c. Prepare a plan for mass transportation services with persons, counties, cities, agencies, authorities, or transportation commissions and may further contract with any such person or entity to provide necessary facilities, equipment, operations and maintenance, access, and insurance pursuant to such plan.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4830; 2014, c. 805; 2019, c. 749.

§ 33.2-2501. Counties and cities embraced by the Authority.

The Authority shall embrace the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4831; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-2502. Composition of Authority; membership; terms.

The Authority shall consist of 17 members as follows:

1. The chief elected officer of the governing body of each county and city embraced by the Authority or, in the discretion of the chief elected officer, his designee, who shall be a current elected officer of such governing body;

2. Two members who reside in different counties or cities embraced by the Authority, appointed by the Speaker of the House who may be from the membership of the House Committee on Appropriations, the House Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Transportation;

3. One member of the Senate who resides in a county or city embraced by the Authority, appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and, to the extent practicable, from the membership of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Transportation;

4. Two nonlegislative citizen members who reside in different counties or cities embraced by the Authority, appointed by the Governor. One such gubernatorial appointment shall be a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board and one shall be a person who has significant experience in transportation planning, finance, engineering, construction, or management; and

5. The following three persons who shall serve as nonvoting ex officio members of the Authority: the Director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, or his designee; the Commissioner of Highways, or his designee; and the chief elected officer of one town in a county embraced by the Authority to be chosen by the Authority.

All members of the Authority shall serve terms coincident with their terms of office, except that the gubernatorial appointee who is not a member of the Board shall serve for a term of four years. A vacancy occurring other than by expiration of a term shall be filled for the unexpired term. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

The Authority shall appoint a chairman and vice-chairman from among its members.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4832; 2004, c. 1000; 2008, c. 434; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-2503. Staff.

The Authority shall 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 Authority. The Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation shall make their employees available to assist the Authority, upon request.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4833; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-2504. Decisions of Authority.

A majority of the Authority, which majority shall include at least a majority of the representatives of the counties and cities embraced by the Authority, shall constitute a quorum. Decisions of the Authority shall require a quorum and shall be in accordance with voting procedures established by the Authority. In all cases, decisions of the Authority shall require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the Authority present and voting and two-thirds of the representatives of the counties and cities embraced by the Authority who are present and voting and whose counties and cities include at least two-thirds of the population embraced by the Authority; 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 representative'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 Authority shall be the population as determined by the most recently preceding decennial census, except that once the population estimates for July 1 of the fifth year are made available then the population of each county and city shall be adjusted on the basis of population estimates made by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service of the University of Virginia.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4834; 2014, c. 805; 2016, cc. 224, 375.

§ 33.2-2505. Allocation of certain Authority expenses among component counties and cities.

Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision C 1 of § 33.2-2510, the administrative and operating expenses of the Authority shall be provided in an annual budget adopted by the Authority, 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 Authority and shall not include any funds for construction or acquisition of transportation facilities or for the performance of any transportation service.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4835; 2014, c. 805; 2019, c. 749.

§ 33.2-2506. Payment to members of Authority.

The members of the Authority may be paid for their services compensation in either (i) the amount provided in the general appropriation act for members of the General Assembly engaged in legislative business between sessions or (ii) a lesser amount as determined by the Authority. Members may be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses as provided in §§ 2.2-2813 and 2.2-2825, if approved by the Authority. Funding for the costs of compensation and expenses of the members shall be provided by the Authority.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4836; 2004, c. 1000; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-2507. Formation of advisory committees.

A. The Authority shall have a technical advisory committee, consisting of nine individuals who reside or are employed in counties and cities embraced by the Authority and have experience in transportation planning, finance, engineering, construction, or management. Six members shall be appointed by localities embraced by the Authority and three members shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board. The technical advisory committee shall advise and provide recommendations on the development of projects as required by § 33.2-2508 and funding strategies and other matters as directed by the Authority.

B. The Authority also shall have a planning coordination advisory committee that shall include at least one elected official from each town that is located in any county embraced by the Authority and receives street maintenance payments under § 33.2-319.

C. The Authority may form additional advisory committees.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4837; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-2508. Responsibilities of Authority for long-range transportation planning.

In fulfilling the requirements of subdivision 1 of § 33.2-2500, the Authority shall be responsible for long-range transportation planning for regional transportation projects in Northern Virginia. In carrying out this responsibility, the Authority shall, on the basis of a regional consensus whenever possible, set regional transportation policies and priorities for regional transportation projects and, at least once every five years, shall consider for revision and revise as necessary the regional transportation plan. The policies and priorities shall have reducing congestion in Planning District 8 as their primary objective to the greatest extent practicable and shall be guided by performance-based criteria such as the ability to improve travel times, reduce delays, connect regional activity centers, improve safety, improve air quality, and move the most people in the most cost-effective manner. Any obstacles to achieving this objective shall be specified in writing, including any reason relating to the need for cooperation by any locality embraced by (i) the Authority, (ii) the District of Columbia, (iii) the State of Maryland, or (iv) any other regional entity in the metropolitan Washington area. Each locality embraced by the Authority shall annually inform the Authority about and the Authority shall annually publish on its website any land use or transportation elements of its comprehensive plan that are not consistent with the plan required by subdivision 1 of § 33.2-2500. No change in such comprehensive plan shall compel the Authority to alter the plan prepared according to this section.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4838; 2014, c. 805; 2015, cc. 477, 496; 2017, c. 351.

§ 33.2-2509. Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Fund.

There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund for Planning District 8 to be known as the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority 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, any other funds that may be appropriated by the General Assembly, and any funds that may be received for the credit of the Fund from any other source 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 amounts dedicated to the Fund pursuant to § 58.1-638 shall be deposited monthly by the Comptroller into the Fund and thereafter distributed to the Authority as soon as practicable for use in accordance with § 33.2-2510. If the Authority determines that such moneys distributed to it exceed the amount required to meet the current needs and demands to fund transportation projects pursuant to § 33.2-2510, the Authority may invest such excess moneys to the same extent 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 jurisdictions. 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, § 15.2-4838.01; 2014, c. 805; 2018, cc. 854, 856.

§ 33.2-2510. Use of certain revenues by the Authority.

A. All moneys received by the Authority and the proceeds of bonds issued pursuant to § 33.2-2511 shall be used by the Authority solely for transportation purposes benefiting those counties and cities that are embraced by the Authority.

B. 1. Except as provided in subdivision 2, 30 percent of the revenues received by the Authority under subsection A shall be distributed on a pro rata basis, with each locality's share being the total of such fee and taxes received by the Authority that are generated or attributable to the locality divided by the total of such fee and taxes received by the Authority. Of the revenues distributed pursuant to this subsection, as determined solely by the applicable locality, such revenues shall be used for additional urban or secondary highway construction, for other capital improvements that reduce congestion, for other transportation capital improvements that have been approved by the most recent long-range transportation plan adopted by the Authority, or for public transportation purposes. None of the revenue distributed by this subsection may be used to repay debt issued before July 1, 2013. Each locality shall create a separate, special fund in which all revenues received pursuant to this subsection and from the tax imposed pursuant to § 58.1-3221.3 shall be deposited. Each locality shall provide annually to the Authority sufficient documentation as required by the Authority showing that the funds distributed under this subsection were used as required by this subsection.

2. If a locality has not deposited into its special fund (i) revenues from the tax collected under § 58.1-3221.3 pursuant to the maximum tax rate allowed under that section or (ii) an amount, from sources other than moneys received from the Authority, that is equivalent to the revenue that the locality would receive if it was imposing the maximum tax authorized by § 58.1-3221.3, then the amount of revenue distributed to the locality pursuant to subdivision 1 shall be reduced by the difference between the amount of revenue that the locality would receive if it was imposing the maximum tax authorized by such section and the amount of revenue deposited into its special fund pursuant to clause (i) or (ii), as applicable. The amount of any such reduction in revenue shall be redistributed according to subsection C. The provisions of this subdivision shall be ongoing and apply over annual periods as determined by the Authority.

C. 1. The remaining 70 percent of the revenues received by the Authority under subsection A, plus the amount of any revenue to be redistributed pursuant to subsection B, shall be used by the Authority solely to fund transportation projects selected by the Authority that are contained in the regional transportation plan in accordance with subdivision 1 of § 33.2-2500 and that have been rated in accordance with subdivision 2 of § 33.2-2500. For only those regional funds received in fiscal year 2014, the requirement for rating in accordance with subdivision 2 of § 33.2-2500 shall not apply. The Authority shall give priority to selecting projects that are expected to provide the greatest congestion reduction relative to the cost of the project and shall document this information for each project selected. Such projects selected by the Authority for funding shall be located (i) only in localities embraced by the Authority or (ii) in adjacent localities but only to the extent that such extension is an insubstantial part of the project and is essential to the viability of the project within the localities embraced by the Authority.

2. Not less than 15 days prior to any decision by the Authority for the expenditure of funds pursuant to subdivision 1 for any project to create or improve any transportation facility, the Authority shall make the following publicly available: (i) the project evaluation pursuant to subdivision 2 of § 33.2-2500, (ii) the total amount of funds from the Authority to be used for the project, (iii) the total amount of funds from sources other than the Authority to be used for the project, and (iv) any other rating or scoring of other factors to be taken into account by the Authority related to each such transportation facility.

3. All transportation projects undertaken by the Authority shall be completed by private contractors accompanied by performance measurement standards, and all contracts shall contain a provision granting the Authority the option to terminate the contract if contractors do not meet such standards. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any locality may provide engineering services or right-of-way acquisition for any project with its own forces. The Authority shall avail itself of the strategies permitted under the Public-Private Transportation Act (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.) whenever feasible and advantageous. The Authority is independent of any state or local entity, including the Department and the Commonwealth Transportation Board, but the Authority, the Department, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board shall consult with one another to avoid duplication of efforts and, at the option of the Authority, may combine efforts to complete specific projects. Notwithstanding the foregoing, at the request of the Authority, the Department may provide the Authority with engineering services or right-of-way acquisition for the project with its own forces.

4. With regard to the revenues distributed under subdivision 1, each locality's total long-term benefit shall be approximately equal to the proportion of the total of the fees and taxes received by the Authority that are generated by or attributable to the locality divided by the total of such fees and taxes received by the Authority.

D. For road construction and improvements pursuant to subsection B, the Department may, on a reimbursement basis, provide the locality with planning, engineering, right-of-way, and construction services for projects funded in whole by the revenues provided to the locality by the Authority.

2007, c. 896, § 15.2-4838.1; 2009, cc. 410, 556; 2013, c. 766; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 458; 2016, c. 225; 2019, c. 749.

§ 33.2-2511. Authority to issue bonds.

The Authority 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 Authority 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 subdivision 7 of § 33.2-2512 shall be used only as provided in that subdivision.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4839; 2007, c. 896; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-2512. Other duties and responsibilities of Authority.

In addition to other powers granted in this chapter, the Authority shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

1. Providing general oversight of regional programs involving mass transit or congestion mitigation, including carpooling, vanpooling, and ridesharing;

2. Providing long-range regional planning, both financially constrained and unconstrained;

3. Recommending to federal, state, and regional agencies regional transportation priorities, including public-private transportation projects and funding allocations;

4. Developing, in coordination with affected counties and cities, regional priorities and policies to improve air quality;

5. Allocating to priority regional transportation projects funds made available to the Authority and, at the discretion of the Authority, directly overseeing such projects;

6. Recommending to the Commonwealth Transportation Board priority regional transportation projects for receipt of federal and state funds;

7. Imposing, collecting, and setting the amount of tolls for use of facilities in the area embraced by the Authority, when the facility is either newly constructed or reconstructed solely with revenues of the Authority or solely with revenues under the control of the Authority in such a way as to increase the facility's traffic capacity, with the amount of tolls variable by time of day, day of the week, vehicle size or type, number of axles, or other factors as the Authority may deem proper, and with all such tolls to be used for programs and projects that are reasonably related to or benefit the users of the applicable facility, including for the debt service and other costs of bonds whose proceeds are used for such construction or reconstruction;

8. Providing general oversight of regional transportation issues of a multijurisdictional nature, including intelligent transportation systems, signalization, and preparation for and response to emergencies;

9. Serving as an advocate for the transportation needs of Northern Virginia before the state and federal governments;

10. Applying to and negotiating with the government of the United States, the Commonwealth, or any agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision thereof for grants and other funds available to carry out the purposes of this chapter and receiving, holding, accepting, and administering from any source gifts, bequests, grants, aid, or contributions of money, property, labor, or other things of value to be held, used, and applied to carry out the purposes of this chapter subject, however, to any condition upon which gifts, bequests, grants, aid, or contributions are made. Unless otherwise restricted by the terms of the gift, bequest, or grant, the Authority may sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of such money, securities, or other property given or bequeathed to it in furtherance of its purposes;

11. Acting as a "responsible public entity" for the purpose of the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance, or operation, or any combination thereof, of a "qualifying transportation facility" under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.); and

12. Deciding on and voting to impose certain fees and taxes authorized under law for imposition or assessment by the Authority, provided that any such fee or tax assessed or imposed is assessed or imposed in all counties and cities embraced by the Authority. The revenues from such certain fees and taxes shall be kept in a separate account and shall be used only for the purposes provided in this chapter.

2002, c. 846, § 15.2-4840; 2007, c. 896; 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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