On August 20, 2008, the work group of local officials tasked with making recommendations on the formation of a regional transit authority held their first meeting where they discussed legislative strategy, governance, and funding issues.  They also picked a working name for the new entity, the

Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Transit Authority (CARTA)

.  CARTA, it turns out, is an acronym also used by Charleston, SC and Chattanooga, TN to describe their public transportation systems.

At the opening of the meeting, Albemarle County Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) was named chairman of the group.  Other members of the work group include:  Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett); Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris; City Councilor Satyendra Huja; Rebecca White, UVA Transportation; and Donna Shaunesey, JAUNT.  Staff from the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) are helping facilitate the meetings, including Melissa Barlow and David Blount.  The group plans to meet weekly during the next two to three months before it presents its recommendations, and proposed legislation, to Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.


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CARTA would eventually assume the operations of the

Charlottesville Transit System

(CTS).  The University of Virginia plans to operate its transportation system independent of this cooperative venture.  While CTS currently runs buses on routes in Albemarle County’s urban ring, local officials are seeking to create a regional transit authority to significantly increase public transit options and to raise new revenues for transportation projects.


Key decisions at this meeting included the following

:





Birth of an Acronym:

Melissa Barlow

&

Dennis Rooker

smile as

Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Transit Authority

(CARTA)

is selected as a working name

In future meetings, the work group will evaluate funding mechanisms, voter referendum requirements, the transfer of City transportation assets to CARTA, and human resource issues like the wage differential between City and County workers.  Draft legislation enabling the formation of the RTA and allowing for new local revenues to be raised has to be reviewed and approved by the City and County before December 8, 2008 in order to be considered by the General Assembly.

After the meeting, UVA’s Rebecca White explained to Charlottesville Tomorrow why the University intends to operate its bus system independent of CARTA.

“We are glad to participate so fully in these discussions,” said White.  “There are strings attached to federal funding for our charters and parking lot shuttles that might be impacted [were UVA to join as a full partner].”

However, White said she saw the potential for increased City-County cooperation to help the University.  “My interest [here] is mostly in facilitating our employees’ commute to work.  That is where UVA’s interests are significant.”

The work group’s

next meeting

will be Friday, August 29th from 9-11 AM at the offices of TJPDC.


TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

Brian Wheeler

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