What is the purpose of House Bill 2?
Governor McAuliffe signed House Bill 2 (HB2) into law in 2014, which directs the CTB to develop and use a prioritization process to select the right transportation projects. The process will score projects based on an objective and fair analysis that is applied statewide. This process will help the CTB to select projects that provide the maximum benefits for tax dollars spent.
How does the prioritization process work?
As required by law under HB2, the CTB will develop the prioritization process using an open and transparent process. Once the projects are scored through the prioritization process, the CTB will then have the information it needs to make the best decisions on which projects to fund.
What types of projects are included?
Projects that meet a capacity need identified in VTrans 2040 will be prioritized, including projects that support:
- Corridors of Statewide Significance (i.e. interstates and major highways)
- Regional networks (i.e. focus on multi-modal networks that facilitate intra-regional travel within urban areas)
- Improvements to promote urban development areas (i.e. areas designated by local governments as prime areas for economic growth)
- The CTB must consider highway, transit, rail, road, operational improvements and transportation demand management projects.
What at type of funding is included in prioritization?
Funds that must be prioritized include state and federal highway funds.
HB2 applies to funding allocations under the optional CTB formula for high priority projects, Public-Private Partnerships and Smart Roadway projects. In addition, statewide discretionary federal funds are eligible for HB2 prioritization (i.e. NHPP and STP).
What types of project are not included?
The law excludes asset management projects, such as deficient pavement and bridge rehabilitation projects, and projects funded by certain funding sources (including Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, Highway Safety Improvement Program, Transportation Alternatives Program, Revenue Sharing program, and secondary/urban formula funds).
The prioritization process will not apply to projects funded through Northern Virginia or Hampton Roads regional revenues; however, projects funded by other sources in these areas may still need to be included in the process.
At the discretion of the CTB, projects fully funded in the Six-Year Improvement Program that have completed environmental review may be exempt from the law’s provisions.
How will projects be scored?
The CTB is developing the process based on an objective, quantifiable analysis that considers the following factors relative to the cost of the project:
- Congestion mitigation
- Economic development
- Environmental quality
- Land use and transportation coordination
- Projects that reduce congestion would rise to the top in traffic-clogged regions in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. For rural and other regions, transportation priorities may be based more on stimulating the economy and job growth.
How is the prioritization process being developed?
The CTB will solicit input from localities, metropolitan planning organizations, transit authorities, transportation authorities, and other stakeholders in the development of the project prioritization process.
For each prioritization factor, multiple measures will be applied.
The CTB may choose to assign different weights to the factors within each highway construction district, based on the unique needs and qualities of each district.
By code, in the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads districts congestion mitigation will be the highest weighted factor.
Prioritization will allow a project to be better compared to others on a statewide basis.
How can the public provide input to the prioritization process?
There will be significant input as the process is developed. A comprehensive outreach program is being developed, which will educate the public about prioritization and provide them with many opportunities to provide input. This will be a transparent process that will engage stakeholders. Outreach efforts include:
- Prioritization discussions at public meetings, MPO and PDC meetings, association meetings and other public events
- Regional workshops on draft recommendations (held in the winter/spring 2014-2015).
- An HB2 prioritization website will be set up to facilitate sharing of information and public input
When will the process be implemented?
The law requires the CTB to select projects for funding based on the prioritization process beginning July 1, 2016. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation are working diligently to transition to the new prioritization process early.
What is being done now to prepare for prioritization?
In preparation to implement the prioritization process, $416 million has been removed from more than 60 projects in the FY 2015-2020 Six-Year Improvement Program. They will be scored through the prioritization process because they meet the criteria as described by law under HB 2. The projects are not fully funded and have not completed the NEPA process. Enough funding has been left on these projects to take them to the next milestone in the project development process. The rest of the allocated funding has been set aside for prioritization. The CTB will select projects for funding once they have been scored. The projects remain in the SYIP and could be selected for funding once they are scored.
The ultimate selection of projects is made by the CTB; the prioritization process will provide valuable data for the CTB to consider in making project selections.
The FY 2015-2020 SYIP has been revised to reflect funding that was deallocated from the projects that will be scored. The draft revised program including information on the prioritization process will be shared with the public during fall public meetings that will be held in nine districts September and October. The public is invited to learn about prioritization and to share their ideas and input on transportation needs. Public input will be taken into consideration as the revised program is finalized. The CTB will approve the final revised SYIP during its November meeting.
More information on the fall meetings is online at: http://www.virginiadot.org/2014fallmeetings/
The Secretary of Transportation’s office is leading efforts to develop the prioritization process. This will involve input from localities, MPOs, PDCs, and the public will be.
Secretary Aubrey Layne has established an Executive Workgroup to oversee the implementation of the new prioritization with focus on identifying impacts to the SYIP, measuring outcomes for required factors, coordinating with local governments and regions on weighing factors and developing a process to solicit candidate projects for screening and prioritization.