Public Transit and its Funding
The Virginia General Assembly in recent years has provided new sources of funds, particularly taxes on fuel, for transportation improvements in Virginia. However, the taxes being collected in Hampton Roads must be used entirely for highways, bridges and tunnels. They cannot be used in any way for public transit.
In addition, long-term state bond funding for capital improvements and "good repair" of transit systems throughout Virginia will soon cease. Thus public transit providers around the state, and particularly in Hampton Roads, face serious shortfalls in funding. Drastic reductions in current transit services will occur, unless new types of funding for public transit are provided by the General Assembly.
The 2019 General Assembly can take steps to support public transit planning and operations -- in better, more reliable ways. Such actions are vital to our economy, to our health, and to the lives of many, many Virginia workers, seniors, students, and others. The League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads, along with other citizen groups, is taking these needs and possible solutions to the General Assembly members before and during their next session early in 2019.
Finally, Hampton Roads needs a complete re-working of its transit map and services, to reflect the needs and desires of the region’s residents in the 21st century. Citizens in the various cities will be involved in planning routes for buses, MAX express buses, ferries, and light rail – as well as finding funds for future changes and operations. The League will be part of this process.
The Transportation Committee of the LWVSHR keeps League members educated about transportation planning and funding, and lets them know when local and state decision-makers need to hear from informed members of the public. In addition, the committee is reviewing the Transportation Position of the LWVSHR this year, to determine whether changes are needed to guide League actions in the future.
If you would like to be involved with the transportation committee, please email transportation [at] lwvshr.org.
For more information about the current state of transportation, please see The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization's report: The State of Transportation in Hampton Roads 2018