Northern Virginia Transportation Authority
Background and History
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority was established by the General Assembly in SB576, and initiated operations on July 1, 2002.
The Authority is charged with long-range planning and setting priorities for regional transportation projects.
During its first five years, the Authority was a largely ad hoc organization with no formal headquarters or staff. With the passage of HB3202 transportation funding package by the General Assembly in the 2007 session, the Authority was enabled to raise and allocate more than $300 million per year in new regional revenues. This in turn has caused the Authority to adopt a more formal structure and set of operating procedures.
Enabling Legislation: (SB 576)
However, on February 29, 2008 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the General Assembly does not have the constitutional authority to grant taxing powers to unelected regional bodies. Thus, the taxes and fees imposed by the Authority as of January 1, 2008 are hereby deemed unconstitutional, and the Commonwealth will refund any and all fees already collected.
To read the Court's ruling, click here
Following the Court's ruling and due to the Generaly Assembly's failure to restore regional funding, the Authority closed its office and terminated its staff as of September 30, 2008. The Authority continues to operate on an ad hoc basis using local government staff and meeting approximately three times per year.
For more information on Authority meetings. please visit www.thenovaauthority.org.
The Authority consists of nine Northern Virginia jurisdictions.
4. Prince William
3. Falls Church
5. Manassas Park
Powers and Responsibilities
For a detailed list of the powers and responsibilities of the Authority, click here.
The Authority’s Board of Directors consists of 14 voting and two non-voting members.
Voting Members (14)
- Nine local government representatives – the chief elected officer (Board Chair or mayor) from each local government or his designee who must also be a current elected officer.
- Three General Assembly members (two from the House, appointed by the speaker and one from the Senate, appointed by the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections.)
- Northern Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) representative.
- One citizen who resides in localities embraced by the Authority and who has significant experience in transportation planning, finance, engineering, construction or management, appointed by the Governor.
Non-Voting Members (2)
- Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner or his designee.
- Director of Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, or his designee.
For Authority Board Members contact information, please click here.
Decision Making Process
Decisions of the Authority are determined by a complex formula that defies explanation. In essence, a majority vote of the Board must include:
- A majority of the Authority’s nine cities and counties.
- Two-thirds of the members present and voting.
- Two-thirds of the representatives of the nine cites and counties present and voting.
- The votes of the representatives of at least two-thirds of the region’s population, as determined by the most recent Federal Census. (In the fifth year following the Census, estimates by the Weldon Cooper Center of the University of Virginia are used.)
For a breakdown of jurisdictional population and percentages, click here.
The Authority currently does not have dedicated funding. Information on the seven regional funding mechanisms that have been invalidated by the Virginia Supreme Court can be found here.
A group of individuals challenged the Authority’s ability to impose taxes and fees. On August 28, 2007 the Arlington District Court ruled the Authority did have the power to levy taxes and fees. To access that decision, click here.
Opponents appealed this decision to the Virginia Supreme Court, which heard legal arguments on January 8, 2008.
On February 29, 2008 the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the General Assembly does not have the constitutional authority to grant taxing powers to unelected regional bodies. Thus, the taxes and fees imposed by the Authority as of January 1, 2008 are hereby deemed unconstitutional, and the Commonwealth will refund any and all fees already collected.
To access the court decision, click here.
Transaction 2030 Regional Plan
For information on the Transaction 2030 Regional Plan, click here.