David Blount, Legislative Liaison, TJPDC

On November 5, 2008, the

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

unanimously endorsed a

resolution

calling for enabling authority from
the Virginia General Assembly to create a Regional Transit Authority
(RTA) in cooperation with the

City of Charlottesville

.  The resolution was presented to the Board for consideration by David Blount, Legislative Liaison with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.  A similar
resolution was approved by City Council earlier this week.  As a result
of this action, legislation allowing for the creation of a
Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transit Authority is expected to be
submitted for the 2009 General Assembly session by local legislators.


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A separate resolution, which would seek legislative approval for new local taxing powers to fund transit and transportation, has not yet been considered by City Council or the Board of Supervisors.  A

work group of elected officials is continuing to meet

with area stakeholders to reach consensus on what funding tools should be included in that second proposal.  Some local officials have stated that an RTA should not be created to replace the Charlottesville Transit System (CTS) without new sources of revenue being identified.



While road construction and maintenance has traditionally been funded at the state and federal level, area officials have said repeatedly that the state is not fulfilling its responsibility to adequately fund the area’s transportation needs.  The City and County rely heavily on real estate property taxes to fund local budgets, but in the absence of state funding, they would prefer to fund major transportation projects with alternative sources of revenue.  A local gas tax or sales tax, however, would require authorization from the General Assembly.

The next step in the effort to create the RTA will be to focus on identifying specific funding sources and potential voter referendum requirements.

The RTA work group will report to City Council and the Board of Supervisors before the end of the year with their recommendations.  Their next meeting is scheduled for November 21, 2008.

The text of the resolution approved on November 5, 2008 is as follows:


Resolution To Seek Enabling Legislation To Establish a Regional Transit Authority In The Charlottesville-Albemarle Area

WHEREAS, transportation planning and systems are regional in scope; and

WHEREAS,  transportation planning includes both transit planning and transit operations; and

WHEREAS, limited transit facilities currently serve the overall Charlottesville-Albemarle area; and

WHEREAS, the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle intend to continue to serve existing ridership; and

WHEREAS, the City and County are interested in extended transit service to developing areas and providing faster, more frequent service to the existing system; and

WHEREAS, a Regional Transit Authority would coordinate regional transit planning and operations; and

WHEREAS, a Regional Transit Authority does not currently exist in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area; and

WHEREAS, enabling legislation is necessary to create a Regional Transit Authority.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the County of Albemarle requests that enabling authority for a Regional Transit Authority to serve the Charlottesville-Albemarle area be adopted.

Brian Wheeler

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