Powers and Functions
Senate Bill 576, approved by the General Assembly on April 17, 2002, amended the Code of Virginia and created the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The Bill added a chapter (numbered 48.2) to Title 15.2 which describes the purpose and powers of the new Authority. Below is a “plain language” summary of excepts from the chapter relating to the Authority’s mission.
The Authority has the following powers and functions:
- The Authority shall prepare a regional transportation plan for Planning District Eight, to include, but not necessarily be limited to, transportation improvements of regional significance, and shall from time to time revise and amend the plan.
- Once the plan is adopted, the Authority may construct or otherwise implement the transportation facilities in the plan.
- The Authority may contract with others to provide transportation facilities or to operate its facilities, or it may provide and/or operate such facilities itself.
- The Authority does not have the power to regulate services provided by taxicabs.
- The Authority may acquire land for the purposes of providing transportation facilities or services. The land can be for the Authority’s use in providing transportation facilities or services, or it can be transferred to another agency for use by that agency in connection with an adopted transportation plan.
- The Authority may prepare a plan for mass transportation services and may contract with others to provide the necessary facilities, equipment, operations, etc., needed to implement the plan.
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.
The Authority will have a technical advisory committee to provide recommendations on the development of transportation projects, funding strategies and other matters as directed by the Authority. The Authority also shall have a planning coordination advisory committee. The Authority may, in its discretion, form additional advisory committees.
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. The policies and priorities 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.
The Authority shall report annually its expenditures to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in Northern Virginia.
Other responsibilities of the Authority include:
- General oversight of regional programs involving mass transit or congestion mitigation, including, but not necessarily limited to, carpooling, vanpooling, and ridesharing. Long-range regional planning, both financially constrained and unconstrained.
- Recommending to state, regional, and federal agencies regional transportation priorities, including public-private transportation projects, and funding allocations.
- Developing, in coordination with affected counties and cities, regional priorities and policies to improve air quality.
- Allocating to priority regional transportation projects any funds made available to the Authority and, at the discretion of the Authority, directly overseeing such projects.
- Recommending to the Commonwealth Transportation Board priority regional transportation projects for receipt of federal and state funds.
- Recommending to the Commonwealth Transportation Board use and/or changes in use of tolls for facilities in the area embraced by the Authority.
- General oversight of regional transportation issues of a multi-jurisdictional nature, including but not limited to intelligent transportation systems, signalization, and preparation for and response to emergencies.
- Serving as an advocate for the transportation needs of Northern Virginia before the state and federal governments.
- Applying to federal, state and other public and private agencies for grants or other contributions toward the Authority’s mission of improving transportation facilities and services in Northern Virginia.
- Acting as a “responsible public entity” for the purpose of the acquisition, construction, improvement, maintenance and/or operation of a “qualifying transportation facility” under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995.