The External and Legislative Affairs Committee Kicks Off on April 19

The External and Legislative Affairs Committee, formed to assist in developing Hampton Roads Transit’s current and future legislative policies and strategies, kicked off its inaugural meeting on April 19.

The committee includes four board members of the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads. They are: Gaylene Kanoyton, of Hampton, Robert ‘Rob’ Coleman, of Newport News, Keith Parnell, of Norfolk, and Amelia Ross-Hammond, of Virginia Beach.

“Great regions have great transit systems,” said Kanoyton, who chairs the group. “That requires good public policy and supportive legislation. We’ll be making recommendations on legislative items for the Commission and partners across the region. Our goal is to support quality public transportation.”

The committee’s kick-off included attendance by local legislative liaisons representing area cities.

Andrew Wright, legislative specialist with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, gave an update on work of the Transit Capital Project Revenue Advisory Board (TCPRAB). That group, established pursuant to House Bill 1359 in 2016, is actively evaluating new transit capital funding and prioritization approaches to recommend to the Commonwealth Transportation Board and General Assembly.

A significant drop in capital funding will hit Virginia’s transit program starting as early as fiscal year 2019. Lisa Guthrie, executive director of the Virginia Transit Association, said, “New funding at state and regional levels is needed. It’s essential to communities across Virginia to maintain a state of good repair and have any ability to make transit enhancements.”

The next TCPRAB meetings are scheduled for April 28 and May 12.