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Commonwealth's Counties

Legislation Expanding County Government Authority to Reduce Speed Limits Pulled Over

HB 633 (Carr) would have expanded the current authority of any locality to reduce the speed limit to less than 25 miles per hour, but not less than 15 miles per hour, on highways within its boundaries that are located in a business district or residence district, provided that such reduced speed limit is indicated by lawfully placed signs, to include highways within the state highway system. This legislation was filed by Delegate Betsy Carr at VACo’s request in response to an interpretation by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) of legislation from 2020 also filed by Delegate Carr, which was intended to extend this authority to all localities. The interpretation ruled that the authority to reduce the speed limit under these provisions applied only to roads not under the Commissioner of Highway’s jurisdiction. In this case, roads owned and maintained by cities, towns, and the counties of Henrico and Arlington. HB 633 would overrule this interpretation and expand that authority to all other counties.

On February 1, HB 633 was heard in the House Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee #2. VACo and several transportation safety groups testified in support of the bill. Unfortunately, the subcommittee voted 5-3 to recommend laying the bill on the table. Similar legislation, HB 261 (Wyatt), was also lain on the table at the patrons request after testimony stressing the importance of improved communication between VDOT and local governments, and improved responsiveness by the former to the latter’s concerns regarding speed reductions. Similar legislation in the Senate, SB 333 (Bell), was struck at the request of patron.

VACo is thankful to the patrons, particular Delegate Carr, for their efforts and attention to the concerns of local governments to improve the ability of boards of supervisors to respond to constituent concerns regarding transportation safety.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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