The General Assembly convened for its 2016 regular session on Wednesday, January 13th. Major work in the even-numbered years is passage of a biennial budget. With some recovery in the Virginia economy it should be possible to pass a required balanced budget without program or staff cuts, but it will not be possible to fund all the budget requests or pent-up demand from the dire budgets of the past decade. Budget deliberations will be controversial, however, because of the issue of Medicaid expansion.
Hampton Roads and a host of elected officials and business interests in the Urban Crescent of Virginia have requested that our elected leaders fully fund the state share of public education, but there are those who will resist those efforts. The PDC also supports GO Virginia and opportunities to diversify and strengthen our regional economy by providing incentives for regional cooperation between government, businesses and educational institutions. Increasing funding to meet the state’s commitment to water quality protection is also critical to the region.
Transportation issues are always top of mind in Hampton Roads, with higher-speed passenger rail and Trains 2 and 3 to Norfolk being key regional legislative priorities for the 2016 Session. Additional funding to widen I-64 between Hampton Roads and Richmond is also critical to improving transportation for commuters and tourists alike. Administrative changes are sought to the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC) to improve both operational and governance efficiencies. The region also supports increased representation on the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) for the Hampton Roads Region.
For more on the major legislative issues of importance to the region, visit our website at: http://hrpdcva.gov/page/legislative-and-regulatory-activity/