TAC Meeting Minutes for March 19, 2013

Meeting Summary

Regular Meeting – March 19, 2013 at 7:30 PM – Fairfax County DOT, 4050 Legato Road, Suite 400, Fairfax Virginia

TAC Members in Attendance: Frank Cohn (Mt. Vernon); Roger Hoskins, Secretary (Mason); Jennifer Joy Madden, Vice Chair (Hunter Mill); Kevin Morse (Braddock); Carrie Nixon (Providence); Jeff Parnes, Chair (Sully), Ann Pimley (Fairfax Area Disability Board); Edson Tennyson (At-Large); and Harry Zimmerman (Lee).

TAC Members Absent: Chad Quinn (Dranesville) and Eric Thiel (Springfield).

Others in Attendance: FCDOT Staff: Noelle Dominguez, Calvin Lam, and Randy White.  DRPT Staff: Amy Inman.

Note Taker:  Roger Hoskin

Meeting was called to order by Chairman Parnes at 7:35 PM.  Meeting notes from February 19th were accepted by acclimation. 

Main Topics Discussed

Summary of General Assembly Session Transportation Issues

Noelle Dominguez of FCDOT provided a comprehensive review of the different versions of the House, Senate, and Conference Report of the Transportation Reform Bill.  A Bill had not been signed into law at the time of the TAC meeting, but details of the three versions were available.  The general thrust of the legislation is to drastically reduce (remove) the ad valorem taxes on motor fuels and replace most of the lost revenue with increases in sales taxes.  A special tax on motor vehicle sales is considered.  A special tax on alternative fuel vehicles is considered.  The different versions of the Bill allocate revenues to different purposes, most going to HMOF and/or the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).  The conference version makes allocations to inter-city passenger rail and transit as well.  Added vehicle registration fees are considered under two versions of the Bill.  One provision, the marketplace equity act, provides that if the U.S. Congress permits sales taxes on internet sales, much of the added revenue will go to the TTF and to localities for transportation.  If not enacted by July 2014, the wholesale gas tax rises by 1 percent.

Other provisions pertinent to Northern Virginia include a 300 million allocation to HMOF for Dulles Rail Phase II.  Two versions of the Bill make provision for local authorities to enact taxes for transportation projects including transit.

The issue of constitutionality was raised by Commissioners Parnes and Zimmerman.  The Virginia Constitution requires all persons to be taxed equally and it seems the Bill could fail on that account.  Ms. Dominguez pointed out that the Bill, if signed into law, would face immediate constitutional challenge from the Attorney General’s office.  This approach was taken to address the constitutional question directly and avoid prolonged litigation.

Commissioner Tennyson raised the question that “transit” could be broadly enough defined to include road building projects, such as HOT lanes or HOV lanes.

Final Super NoVa Transit and TDM Vision Plan

Amy Inman of DRPT presented the results of the NoVa regional transportation vision program.  The objective was to envision a multi-modal transportation network that would tie together the entire Northern Virginia area beyond the immediate Washington DC metro area.  The situation that spawned this was the likely growth to 8 million residents by 2040; longer commutes and significant increases in congestion which would present transportation capacity challenges.

The vision is to promote and develop safe and seamless mobility options for all transportation modes and Transportation Demand Management (TDM).  The mission is to envision transportation beyond local jurisdictional boundaries.  Overall goals are to determine ways to use current infrastructure efficiently and to suggest strategic investments and TDM to integrate transportation and land use and support continued economic growth and prosperity.

The Super NoVa provided a forum to take a “super regional” view; listened to stakeholders in the planning process and identified needs, with a focus on the traveler; developed a regional vision for both transit and TDM and finally, offered policy, program, facility and service recommendations.

What Super NoVa heard was that stakeholders wanted was connectivity, reasonable cost, competitive travel times for both work and leisure activities.

Super NoVa recommended: expansion of both rail and bus service in the I-95, I-66 and Rt. 29 corridors, a regional bus network, circumferential transit services and facilities, streetcar service in inner locations, high capacity services on urban arterials, increased all-day transit in the I-95/395, Dulles and I-66 corridors and a system of regional intermodal transportation hubs.

Ms. Inman concluded with more specific recommendations for:

  1. Higher capacity transit networks
  2. Needed transit facilities
  3. Core capacity in the inner most suburbs.

It was noted that private vendors would play a role e.g. private bus services that already provide service from exurban locations.  But such services would need to be more fully integrated into a super-regional transportation plan.

Other Business

TAC Proposal Submitted to Members of Fairfax County Transit Study

Commissioner Cohn had brought to the Commission in February a proposed resolution for the Commission to endorse and to be submitted to members of the Fairfax County Transit Study.  Briefly, the resolution addressed the long term vision that rail transit would ultimately be provided along the major radial corridors emanating from the Capital Beltway outwards.  At minimum, long-range plans should not preclude future rail along major routes.  In February, the Commission returned the proposal to Commissioner Cohn for revision in light of TAC member comments.  In March, the revised proposal was submitted for consideration.   The Commission asked for further clarification and the resolution was returned for further edits and re-consideration in April.  The greatest concern centered on major radial corridors. Route 1, I-395, Leesburg Pike and I-66 were obvious major radials.  But was it the intent of the resolution to include Georgetown Pike, Little River Turnpike, Braddock Road and Arlington Blvd. in the term “major radials.”

Lee District Budget Advisory Committee Proposed Topics

Commissioner Zimmerman brought to the Commission’s attention a resolution from the Lee District Council’s budget committee: Given the passage of sweeping transportation funding by the General Assembly, the Board of Supervisors endorsee the priorities identified by the FCDOT’s recent public outreach program for priority funding.

The Commission noted that while “priorities” have been identified; actual projects have not yet been made public.  Furthermore, no estimate of costs or benefits has been made for any one project.  The Commission did not take up the Lee District’s resolution.

Commissioner Parnes (Chair) recommended as part of the Commission’s outreach that Commissioners attend other public meetings to make a case for transportation needs.

Noted: the June TAC meeting will be in the Alexandria region of Fairfax County.

Agenda for the April 16, 2013, meeting

  • Dulles Rail Phase II – Final Engineering Study – Mark Canale, FCDOT

TAC agreed to following topics in roughly this order for future meetings:

  • May 21, 2013:  Recommendations on Parking Requirements in Transit Oriented Development Areas – Dan Rathbone, FCDOT
  • June 18, 2013: Field Trip to Express Lanes Operations Facility Center
  • July 16, 2013: I-495 Express Lane Monthly/Quarterly Report
  • Columbia Pike Street Car Line Progress (and additional possible candidates)
  • CTB Determination of Corridor of Statewide Importance through Loudoun/Prince William Counties
  • Regional Transit System Plan
  • Comprehensive Plan staff and Planning Commission discussions with TAC on what their vision is for future development and any changes in planning and zoning guidelines that may be needed to account for future work environment given the pace and impacts of technology advances (including guest speaker to explain impact of self-driving/smart cars, buses and trucks on traffic, roadways and intersections).
  • Board Four-Year Transportation Plan


Meeting Adjourned: at 9:40 p.m.

Upcoming Meetings/Events 

April 2, 2013                          7:30 pm                   TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

April 16, 2013                       7:30 pm                   TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)

May 7, 2013                           7:30 pm                   TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

May 7, 2013                          12:30 – 2:30 p.m.      Board Transportation Committee Meeting

May 21, 2013                         7:30 pm                   TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)

June 4, 2013                           7:30 pm                   TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

June 18, 2013                        7:30 pm                  Field Trip to Express Lanes Operations Facility 

June 25, 2013                        TBD                        Board Transportation Committee Meeting 

July 2, 2013                            7:30 pm                  TAC Work Session (FCDOT)

July 16, 2013                         7:30 pm                  TAC Regular Meeting (FCDOT)





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