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The Authority Report

Authority Meeting Highlights
 

June 11, 2021

Last evening, the Authority met virtually one more time before returning in-person next month. The meeting began with the adoption of a resolution on finding the need to conduct the business meeting by electronic communication means during Governor Northam's declared State of Emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

The Authority business meeting began with a presentation from Harun Rashid, Transportation Planner, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, who spoke about travel trends in Northern Virginia and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Rashid outlined national highlights, including how the Washington, D.C. area had the highest percentage of telecommuting (59.5%) during the pandemic compared to other large metropolitan areas. In fact, according to INRIX, a 'Big Data' traffic analytics company, the Washington, D.C. area experienced the largest decline in highway congestion and a 77% decrease in traffic delay.

NVTA staff analyzed travel impacts caused by the pandemic specific to Northern Virginia, with the objective to inform the long-range transportation plan, TransAction, planning process. January 2020 - May 2021 metrics were compared with corresponding weeks and months in 2019, while utilizing the following data sources: highway traffic volumes (Virginia Department of Transportation); highway travel speeds (RITIS-INRIX); and transit ridership (Northern Virginia Transportation Commission).

Key analysis findings include:

  • First week of April 2020: Region-wide average volume reduction of 49% (PM peak period); May 2021: Travel volumes stabilized to a level of about 12% lower than pre-COVID conditions (PM peak period);
  • As highway travel is trending back to pre-COVID levels in May 2021, there was an average speed increase of 12%; travel speeds still faster than pre-COVID conditions;
  • Mid-April 2020: Most local buses saw at least 66% reduction in ridership and rail experienced a greater decline - Virginia Railway Express (97%)/ Metrorail (96%); local bus ridership recovering slightly faster than VRE and Metrorail services. 
Learn More on Additional Trends and Next Steps

The Authority unanimously approved the Call for Regional Transportation Projects (CfRTP) for the FY2022-2027 Six Year Program (SYP) Update, which will be posted here on July 1, 2021. The SYP update will follow a similar process used for previous SYPs.
In preparation of the upcoming SYP update, applicants are encouraged to consider NVTA's core values of equity, sustainability and safety when submitting applications. In anticipation of a high demand for regional revenues, the CfRTP further encourages applicants to highlight how well their candidate projects complement each other and those in adjacent jurisdictions


 
Stay tuned for milestones along the way and an upcoming Six Year Program Update video series to keep you informed!
#FlashbackFriday
 

As we prepare for the next Six Year Program Update, here's a look back at summer 2018 when Authority Board members celebrated the adoption of NVTA's inaugural FY2018-2023 Six Year Program.
Upcoming Meeting Changes
 

The 2021 General Assembly approved changes to the Code of Virginia related to electronic participation in meetings. As a result, the NVTA policy related to electronic participation in meetings required updating. During the June 10, 2021 business meeting, the Authority adopted the changes to Policy 26 - Electronic Participation in Meetings, as delineated in this draft, effective July 1, 2021. 
 
We look forward to seeing you again in person soon!

 
Next, Monica Backmon, NVTA Executive Director, briefed the Authority about a resolution to be considered by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at their June 16, 2021 meeting. The TPB is responsible for developing/updating the National Capital Region’s Long Range Transportation Plan called Visualize 2045, and conducting the air quality conformity determination on the plan every four years. The current Visualize 2045 plan was adopted by the TPB in November 2018, is set to expire in December 2022. 

The TPB will consider a resolution which suggests alternative No-Build and Build scenario analyses, alongside the federally-required air quality conformity analysis for the Visualize 2045 long-range transportation plan’s constrained element (CLRP), with a modified set of projects designed to achieve the region’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction goals.


 
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The Authority, which is a primary funding entity of transportation investments in Northern Virginia, is supportive of the TPB’s climate and equity goals and has invested or committed $2.5 billion in regional, multimodal transportation projects that will accomplish the following goals when implemented: Enhance quality of life and economic strength of Northern Virginia through transportation; Enable optimal use of the transportation network and leverage the existing network; Reduce negative impacts of transportation on communities and the environment.

Following Ms. Backmon's comments, members of the Authority provided their feedback and insights, and David Snyder, Authority Vice Chair, and Councilmember, City of Falls Church, discussed a Proposed Pathway Forward document prepared for the Authority's consideration. You can watch the full discussion on YouTube, beginning at the 40:53 timestamp. 
Learn More About Impacts on the Authority & NVTA Action

 
Lastly, Ms. Backmon informed the Authority that the Town of Hillsboro, Loudoun County, VDOT and NVTA will be celebrating the reopening of Route 9 in Hillsboro, with a ribbon-cutting on June 18th (declared by the Town NVTA Day). This regionally significant traffic calming/pedestrian safety project was completed in just a little over a year and is one of the first transportation projects in the Authority's inaugural FY2018-2023 Six Year Program to start and finish construction. We look forward to celebrating soon!

Be sure to check out the full Executive Director's Report to get up-to-speed on the latest NVTA activities.

Couldn't join us last night? The full archived live-stream can be viewed on our YouTube Channel.

Click here to see the June 2021 Authority Meeting Agenda, topics discussed, and meeting materials.

UPCOMING MEETINGS and EVENTS
 
Authority Meeting *
July 8, 2021, 7:00 p.m. | NVTA Offices, 3040 Williams Drive, Fairfax, VA
***
Finance Committee Meeting
June 17, 2021, 1:00 p.m. | Virtual: NVTA's YouTube Channel

Governance and Personnel Committee
July 8, 2021, 5:30 p.m. | NVTA Offices, 3040 Williams Drive, Fairfax, VA

Planning and Programming Committee
July 12, 2021, 5:00 p.m. | Location/Format TBA

Transportation Technology Committee
July 14, 2021, 8:30 a.m. | Location/Format TBA

Technical Advisory Committee
July 21, 2021, 7:00 p.m. | Location/Format TBA

Planning Coordination Advisory Committee
July 28, 2021, 6:30 p.m. | Location/Format TBA
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