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Transportation continues to lead the agenda

Published 10:35pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

By Delegate S. Chris Jones

Greetings from the Capitol!

The 2013 session of the Virginia General Assembly convened Jan. 9 with a total of 2,249 bills and resolutions introduced. Tuesday marked the halfway point of session, known as Crossover. Legislation impacting the citizens of our commonwealth and the 76th district will continue to be considered until adjournment, which is scheduled to occur Feb. 23.

While I introduced 16 bills and resolutions during this session, the bills seeking solutions to various concerns and specific needs within Hampton Roads and our commonwealth include:

4HB1692 addresses the current Public-Private Transportation Act and the receipt of unsolicited proposals to the commonwealth for qualified transportation facilities.

4HB2276 seeks reforms of the Virginia Port Authority and prevents the commonwealth and the Virginia Port Authority from accepting unsolicited proposals under the Public-Private Transportation Act or the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act.

4HJ621 directs the Joint Legislative and Regulatory Commission to conduct a one-year study of the competitiveness, efficiency and governance structure of the Port of Virginia.

4HJ622 seeks a constitutional amendment to require the General Assembly to maintain permanent and separate transportation funds. The amendment seeks to limit the use of those funds to transportation and related transportation purposes.

Transportation and the funding needed to address the transportation funding shortfall also continue to be a priority for me. The long-term infrastructure problem remains due to the declining value of the gas tax and the ever-increasing cost of road construction.

The gas tax, our main transportation revenue source, is worth just 45 percent of its purchasing power from 1986, the year it was raised to its current level. Inflation, increased fuel efficiency standards, and the rise of alternative fuel vehicles are all chipping away at gas tax revenues. The current path we are on is unsustainable.

I will be working in the days ahead for innovative solutions addressing this fundamental problem with transportation funding.

I encourage you to track the actions of the House and the Senate by accessing the Virginia General Assembly website, virginiageneralassembly.gov/. I also welcome any comments you may have as I serve in Richmond. I want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House.

Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your delegate.

S. Chris Jones represents the 76th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates. He is a resident of Suffolk and can be contacted through his website at www.schrisjones.com.

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