The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) met earlier this month for their annual monthly meeting to discuss revenues, transportation assistance, and swear in new leadership.
Commissioner Elizabeth Bennett-Parker announced her departure from the commission as she moves on to a new role serving in the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 45th district.
Additionally, the commission swore in three new officers for 2022, including Canek Aguirre of Alexandria, the first Latino chairman in the more than a half-century of the NVTC, and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik from Fairfax County, the new vice-chair.
“This is incredibly exciting, not only because of the leadership of Mr. Aguirre in particular but because we know that our ridership of transit for which we advocate is incredibly diverse,” said outgoing Chairmember Katie Cristol. “It’s incredibly important that our riders, our residents, and our constituents see themselves reflected in leadership.”
NVTC Executive Director Kate Mattice took the stand following the opening ceremonies, presenting a video on the commission’s 2021 Year in Review. Through board appointments with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), NVTC advocated for the state’s interest, including the use of three rounds for pandemic relief federal funding, aimed at keeping vital Metrobus and Metrorail services running.
Additionally, the commission continued to press for fare policy changes to benefit riders in Northern Virginia and ensure regional cooperation during continued Metrorail station reconstruction. It also approved a contract to continue their study of a bus rapid transit system connecting Tyson’s, Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria.
Over the past year, NVTC managed $277 million in funding received over the past year, including nearly $174 million in assistance from the Commonwealth of Virginia for Metro. The commission also received more than $30 million in federal grants on behalf of two NVTC jurisdictions. As recipients of the grants, NVTC ensured compliance with Federal Transit Administration requirements.
“It was an exciting year, especially for our transit technology program,” said Mattice. “The program assisted with the rollout of the SmarTrip mobile app for Android devices and Google Pay just a few months after the launch of the app for iOS users and Apple Pay.
In December, the NVTC proposed a 2023 general and administrative (G&A) budget increase, hoping to maintain zero growth while building the commission’s research portfolio. The proposal also included executive training for staff members.
“There is good news,” said Mattice. “The projected budget for public transportation funding in 2023 is larger than we had estimated with the additional $10 million dollars as a carryover from the previous year.”
In revenue, the 2022 G&A budget was more than $3.8 million, hoping to expand to just above $3.9 million if the proposal passes, a 2.3 percent increase. However, after revision, the hope is that the proposed budget would be just over $4 million, a 5.1 percent increase. Total local contributions from 2022 equaled just above $2.6 million. It would be more than $3 million if passed, a 15.1 percent increase.