As NVTA is in the midst of updating Northern Virginia's long-range transportation plan, TransAction
, the Authority unanimously approved the proposed TransAction and Six Year Program Update Contract
award to Cambridge Systematics Inc.
, authorizing Monica Backmon, NVTA Executive Director
, to sign the Contract Award Notice
. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on November 12, 2020. A full rundown of the RFP review process, can be viewed here
Additionally, Tracy Baynard, McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC, provided an update on the 2021 General Assembly Session, including the status of various bills.
Key policy discussions have focused on the role of transportation infrastructure impacting greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, as well as transportation resiliency. Additionally, the General Assembly has been having a lot of discussions on the electrification of transportation infrastructure, including a bill patroned by Authority member, Senator Jennifer Boysko, regarding electric vehicle charging infrastructure (Senate Bill 1223).
Ms. Baynard continued with noting funding opportunities for transportation projects of interest to Authority members:
- Expanding Commuter Rail Service - $83.5M to improve VRE service on the Manassas Line;
- Money dedicated to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) needs - Both for Commonwealth to fill funding gap for State of Good Repair, and also funding as much as $10M to help NoVA Metro Compact Members fulfill FY22 subsidy;
- Regional multimodal trails - $10M for multimodal trails; there's also an effort to establish policy;
- Transit access - $10M to establish fare-free pilots for transit, for both rural and urban communities; and
- Falls Church received $10M for a pilot connected demonstration project the City is doing with Virginia Tech.
Governor Northam has until midnight on March 31st to sign these legislation items.
Additionally, Monica Backmon highlighted two items in her Executive Director's Report, including the development of the Transportation Technology Committee's Transportation Technology Strategic Plan (TTSP). The draft TTSP is currently being reviewed by the Authority's Committees, and is anticipated to be adopted by the Authority at its April 8th meeting.
Ms. Backmon also highlighted the March 10th 6th Annual Northern Virginia Transportation Roundtable, hosted by NVTA and ITS-VA. More than 100 people participated in the event virtually, whether on WebEx or YouTube. Several Authority members joined the event. There were two panels, "Smart Future" and "Resilient Future", both moderated by Jordan Pascale, transportation reporter, WAMU and DCist. Additionally, live-polling was conducted during the informative, interactive event.
The first panel focused on traditional and emerging technologies, such as electric buses like the ones unveiled in the City of Alexandria, and autonomous shuttles, like the one launched in Fairfax County's Mosaic District. The second panel discussed a resilient future, how climate change is here, the vulnerability of the NoVA region, and how to mitigate impacts. A full list of panelists, presentations, live-polling results, and a recording of the event are now available.
As the meeting was coming to a close, members of the Authority and NVTA staff showed our gratitude for VDOT NOVA District Administrator and Authority member, Helen Cuervo, who is retiring after 33 years of employment at VDOT, and eight years of service on the Authority. She has watched the Authority grow during that time...from one funding program to five! Ms. Cuervo is VDOT's first female NOVA District Administrator and a true advocate for women in the transportation industry. In fact, she was named 2018 Woman of the Year by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), for her leadership and contributions to transportation in the region spanning more than three decades.
We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Ms. Cuervo over the years, and wish her a happy retirement. She will be missed!
Wrapping up the evening, David Snyder, Vice Chair of the Authority, and Council Member, City of Falls Church, who chaired the March 11th Authority Meeting, offered some final thoughts:
"I was thinking over the past year how lucky our colleagues were who ended their public service at the end of 2019. And then I thought, they were the lucky ones, but we were the fortunate ones, because we're the ones who get to help the public through this really historic, unprecedented challenge."