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Commonwealth's Counties

Unpaved Road Flexibility Bills Make it to Crossover

SB 644 (Perry) and HB 74 (Reid) would clarify that the improvement of nonsurface treated secondary highways includes modifications other than paving.  These improvements include but aren’t limited to drainage upgrades, enhanced design of the highway profile, or any positive changes to increase safety, reduce maintenance cost or enhance the historic qualities of the road in question.  The bill would also clarify that the local governing body of the county receiving funds for such improvements will select the highways or highway segments to be improved, after consulting with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The introduced versions of the bills included language stating, “Improvements pursuant to this section shall qualify as capital projects and shall be designed and implemented by the county capital projects manager to project standards.”  VACo relayed concerns to the patrons that language referencing a, “county capital projects manager,” would not be applicable to all counties across the Commonwealth.  VACo is happy to report that Delegate Reid and Senator Perry heard our concerns and offered amendments that would allow this unpaved road improvement language to apply and be used by all counties.

The bills passed unanimously in each of their original chambers and will soon be heard in the opposite.  Currently, while both bills have the same effect, the language differs and VACo expects that amendments made to HB 74 will be offered and adopted to SB 644.   The bills would then be identical if they were to pass floor votes and avoid a conference committee.  VACo thanks Delegate Reid and Senator Perry for working with us, hearing our concerns, and putting forward these helpful bills. VACo supports SB 644 and HB 74.

VACo Contact: James Hutzler

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