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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.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 21, 2007; 8:17 AM ET
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Comments

Tonight's meeting is at 6:30 PM in Leesburg? Who in the world can make it out there in time? Why don't they make it at a time when real people can get there - later at night (8:00 PM or so) or on weekends? After all, some of us who are slogging through traffic every day actually have to work for a living.

Posted by: NAC | June 21, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

It's about time such an authority was created. I hope we can get that in Maryland.

Posted by: CEEAF | June 21, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Hmm...should I hold out hope that this means NoVA will get a fairer share of the taxes it sends to Richmond returned to the region for transportation and services? Or is this new government apparatus being set up to exact more taxes out of us on top of what we already pay? Note: I strongly support paying for what you need and use. Which is probably why it bothers me that while the needs and use are greatest here, our money is not coming back proportionately. Different issue, maybe, but I think I would resent having to cough up even more money when a simple change in the amount returned to NoVA from what we already send might be enough to do what SEVEN new (??) taxes and fees are being touted to accomplish in the blurb above. OUCH.

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