Peace Introduces Transportation Related Measures Vital to the Richmond Region

-- Bills focus on representation on the Commonwealth Transportation Board

and tolling authority-- 

Central VA –As the 2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly has begun Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) is working hard to represent the 97th District.  Peace has introduced and co-patroned legislation pertaining to transportation important to the District and the Metro Richmond region. 

House Bill 2196, introduced by Peace, requires approval by the General Assembly prior to tolling any Interstate Highway System component in operation prior to July 1, 2013, except for HOV lanes and HOT lanes.

Under the current process, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) must first submit an expression of interest to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) tolling and pricing team, then following FHWA review and evaluation, VDOT must submit a formal application to the Interstate System Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Pilot Program.  A process Virginia has accessed to gain approval for tolls on I-95. 

“The current tolling approval procedures eliminate input from legislators elected to represent the citizen voice in government operations.  My bill will serve to assure that residents of the Commonwealth are represented in this important decision making process,” asserted Peace.

“The General Assembly, not the Virginia Department of Transportation, was elected to represent the people of Virginia, and this bill allows legislators to uphold their duty to represent their constituents’ interests.  A toll is a tax, and taxing authority lies under the authority of the General Assembly,” said Dale Bennett, President and CEO of the Virginia Trucking Association.  “I commend Delegate Peace for taking a stand on such an important issue.”

Peace is the Chief Co Patron of House Bill 2049, a measure that increases the total membership of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) from 17 to 20 members.  The CTB establishes the administrative policies for Virginia's transportation system and allocates highway funding to specific projects, locates routes and provides funding for airports, seaports and public transportation.

Speaking to the measure, “It is vital to job creation and economic growth in the Metro Richmond region to have an equal voice on the CTB.  Additional seats will facilitate approval of transportation projects important to commerce in the region.” 

“This legislation will provide the Golden Crescent, the economic engine of Virginia, with more representation on the transportation decision making body which will help assure that transportation resources are allocated to further economic development in the Commonwealth for the benefit of all Virginians,” stated Delegate Tom Rust (R-Fairfax). 

“I commend Delegates Peace for working with his peers in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, as well as Governor McDonnell’s administration, to develop this proposal to help address this important issue for our region.  For the past three years, the RRPDC’s legislative program has included a concern that the Richmond Region has historically been underrepresented on the CTB.  Under the current configuration, the region only has one of the 14 seats, even though two out of every 14 Virginians reside here.  HB 2409 will guarantee the Richmond Region has at least two of 17 seats, which better reflects our population, said Robert A. Crum, Jr., Executive Director of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission.  

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his fourth term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates.  The District includes parts of Hanover, King William, and all of New Kent County.