Regional Transit Authority

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The idea of a Regional Transit Authority has been discussed several times over the years. A major study was conducted in the late 2000's to create an authority to replace Charlottesville Area Transit but the idea was shelved when the General Assembly declined to pass legislation to allow the community to hold a referendum on a potential sales tax increase to pay for additional service.

The idea returned in 2016 as some members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors grew frustrated over a lack of information about potential route changes among other governance issues. [1]

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission is working on a study of how existing transit systems can work together short of forming an authority. [2]



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History of transit in the wider community

In the mid-20th century, several different companies operated different bus lines across the region. For instance, the Davis and Laurence Bus Company began service between Mission Home and Charlottesville in March 1948 to capacity crowds. [3]

Late 2000's

At their July 19, 2006 meeting, the Policy Board of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved a resolution of intent committing the Charlottesville and Albemarle County to the establishment of a regional transit authority. [4]

The consultant Vanasse Hangen Brustlin was hired to study the topic. [5]

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was enabled by the Virginia General Assembly in 2009 by HB2158. [6] However, a bill to allow Charlottesville and Albemarle County residents to vote on a proposed sales tax increase to fund the RTA's operations did not pass.

In September 2008, Charlottesville city manager Gary O'Connell wrote a memo listing seven things to consider when discussing the authority. [7]

By the summer of 2010, the had not yet been formally created. [8]

2016

In January, Charlottesville Area Transit manager John Jones told members of the MPO Policy Board that a new route would be established to serve 5th Street Station when stores began to open in the fall. He said service would be provided a month before the opening of the Wegmans. The launch of the bus was funded in part by a $100,000 one-time cash payment from Riverbend Development that was a condition of the 2008 rezoning that allowed the shopping center to be built. [9]

Meanwhile, JAUNT pursued plans to introduce a commuter service between Hollymead Town Center, the University of Virginia and downtown Charlottesville with funds provided through a proffer for the town center. This Route 29 Express was opposed by developer Wendell Wood. [10]

The Route 29 service launched on May 2, 2016. [11]

In September, Albemarle supervisors asked to be given more information about routes that travel through the county. [12] In early October, supervisors and councilors agreed to study a regional transit authority once again. [13]

Additionally, the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro is studying regional transit between Harrisonburg and Charlottesvile. [2]

References

  1. Web. Transit officials continue planning for new 5th Street Station route, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 2, 2016, retrieved December 29, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Web. Officials briefed on U.S. 29 work, transit study, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 19, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  3. Web. Mission Home Bus Line Inaugurates Service, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, March 17, 1948, retrieved December 13, 2016 from University of Virginia Library.
  4. Web. [1], Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Tomorrow, July 24, 2006, retrieved August 20, 2015.
  5. Web. August 2007 MPO Policy Board Meeting, Charlottesville Tomorrow, August 17, 2015, retrieved August 20, 2015.
  6. Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transit Authority; established. (HB2158), Richmond Sunlight, retrieved 7 Jul 2009
  7. Web. O'Connell memo on Regional Transit Authority, Gary O'Connell, September 15, 2008, retrieved May 26, 2015.
  8. Web. Area’s transit plans remain gridlocked, Rachana Dixit, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, 11 Jan 2010
  9. Web. Fifth Street Station and Wegmans to be served by new transit route, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, January 26, 2016, January 26, 2016, retrieved December 29, 2016.
  10. Web. Hollymead developer seeks changes to transit proffer, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 23, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  11. Web. Albemarle County Announces 29 Express Route Starting May 2, Press Release, Albemarle County, April 28, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  12. Web. Albemarle seeks formal reporting process for city bus system, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 3, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.
  13. Web. Supervisors and Councilors agree to discuss regional transit authority, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 4, 2016, retrieved January 11, 2017.