Transportation Authority Moving Quickly
Northern Virginians will have a set of chances, beginning tonight, to learn about a new form of regional government and to say what they want it to do with their money.
These are the town hall sessions to discuss the workings of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which is empowered to impose taxes on local jurisdictions to provide them with road and transit improvements. There's nothing quite like it in Maryland or the District. The regional authority was set up by the Virginia General Assembly and Gov. Mark Warner in 2002 and would have spent money raised by the proposed transportation tax, but the tax was defeated in a referendum that November.
But this spring, Gov. Timothy Kaine and the legislature created a new financing plan for transportation improvements and empowered the authority to raise and spend money. Since then the panel has been rushing to carry out its mandate.
Now, the Northern Virginia jurisdictions that are part of the authority begin these town hall meetings to discuss the plan. The law empowering the transportation authority and the collection of seven taxes and fees from the jurisdictions involved takes effect on July 1. Then on July 12, the authority will hold a public hearing to consider enacting the financing plan, issuing bonds and picking initial projects.
Tonight's town hall starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Loudoun Government Center, 1 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg. It's in the first floor board room.
The next session is Monday at 7:30 in the council chambers at the City of Falls Church Offices, City of Falls Church Offices, 300 Park Ave., Falls Church. (This is a regular meeting of the City Council, at which time will be set aside for comments on the transportation authority.)
Next Thursday, June 28, there's a town hall for Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park: George Mason University, Prince William Campus, Verizon Auditorium, 10900 University Blvd., Manassas. It starts at 7 p.m., but people can start signing up to speak at 6:30.
The July 12 public hearing will start at 6 p.m. in the Cafetorium at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, 7130 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.
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