SB 1106 (Newman) and HB 2302 (Adams, L), as introduced, were similar to budget language in the Governor’s introduced budget regarding the Transportation Partnership Opportunity Fund (TPOF). The introduced bills required the Governor to include in the Budget Bill an appropriation of up to $200 million, limited to $100 million each year, from the Commonwealth Transportation Fund (CTF) to maintain a minimum available balance of $300 million in the TPOF. The bill would also change the types of projects eligible for TPOF funding by including projects that enhance the economic development opportunities of the Commonwealth’s transportation programs.
VACo opposed the initial bills because by diverting funds from the CTF, the funds would not go through the proper formula, and the result would mean that localities would receive less money for maintenance, construction, SMART SCALE, and transit programs across the board. This would have effectively reduced total transportation funding across the six-year transportation improvement plan by $600 million dollars.
Since their introduction, SB 1106 and HB 2302 have been amended significantly to address VACo member concerns. Both bills were amended to remove all language that directs the Governor to appropriate CTF money to the TPOF, making this a decision of the money committees as it was prior to the bills’ introduction. While the bills still allow TPOF money to be used for economic development purposes, amendments were included in both bills to ensure there was transparency, reporting requirements, and various other “guard rails” to ensure oversight throughout the TPOF fund dispersal process. The House version requires that any appropriation over $35 million must be submitted for review by the MEI Project Approval Commission, which would allow for legislative oversight of the fund transfer. The Senate version includes many reporting requirements upon the transfer of funds from the TPOF and directs the Chairs of both money committees to review transfers over $35 million.
VACo thanks Senator Newman and Delegate Adams for working with the various stakeholders and hearing our concerns. SB 1106 as amended, passed the Senate by a vote of 36-4 and has been referred to the House Transportation Committee. HB 2302 passed the House by a vote of 63-35 and was referred to the Senate Transportation Committee. VACo currently has no position on either SB 1106 or HB 2302.
VACo Contact: James Hutzler