Chesterfield County readies for the General Assembly

Each year Chesterfield builds a list of the most important issues that will affect the county from the state standpoint. Mary Ann Curtin lobbies and observes the Virginia General Assembly (GA) as they work through the messy job of building or tweaking statewide concerns.

The GA begin its 2014 session on January 8; an early start making for a long session.

Ms. Curtin, last week, presented the county’s shopping list of items to watch, including:  what will be the impact of the Federal government shutdown, Business, Professional and Occupational License fees, teacher pension liability, the budget, K-12 benchmarking and ethics reform.

The most glaring issue for Chesterfield is an issue that has traveled around the GA for a number of years. The state is considering giving the maintenance of secondary roads to the counties and other jurisdictions. Currently the state takes care of Chesterfield’s secondary roads.

Secondary roads rank beneath interstates, U.S. routes or primary roads, but they are highly important. Since secondary roads are not major state roads, many drivers start and end their trips on local public roads and streets. The roads are within communities and connect communities. To identify roads in the secondary system, look for a black and white state shield with a route numbered 600 or above.

Henrico currently maintains its secondary roads, but during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Dan Gecker asked Curtin whether or not state funding would cover the funding needed to maintain the secondary system.

The issue arose when candidate for Governor Ken Cuccinelli announced his transportation plan a couple of weeks ago.

According to the Washington Post, “while some county leaders have been eager to take back control of the local streets, they have been less enthusiastic about taking back control over raising the money to build and maintain them.

Cuccinelli’s proposal exacerbates state-local tension. According to the candidate’s campaign document, released last week, “the goal of the secondary roads initiative is to ‘Empower Virginia localities by decentralizing our transportation system.’”

“One of the fundamental reasons why our state has been plagued by transportation problems for decades is an undeniable lack of decision making and buy-in at the local level,” the proposal continues. “While our counties do have an option to take responsibility for secondary roads, they have little incentive to do so because of regulatory burdens and costs.”

Chesterfield will oppose the elimination or reduction of local revenue sources and oppose the limitations on the cash proffer system that has been a matter of contention between Chesterfield and developers who build in the county.

Chesterfield will also oppose any types of mandates or the shifting of costs from the state to localities.

The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors in a joint meeting of the Board, School Board and the Legislative committee will consider the legislative agenda on November 13.


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