HD80 - Report for Counties Assuming Responsibility For Their Secondary Construction Program

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) was directed by the 2005 General Assembly through Item 492.D.7 of the 2005 Appropriation Act to develop and prepare legislative recommendations, in conjunction with representatives of counties, on the process for any county, at their request, to assume responsibility for their secondary construction program.

In 1932, the General Assembly relieved counties of maintenance and construction responsibility for local roads. Counties could, by referendum, choose to keep the responsibility for their local or "secondary" roads. Today, only Henrico and Arlington counties maintain and construct their own secondary roads. As counties develop and citizen's expectations increase, road construction needs exceed available funds and resources. To meet the transportation demands in their areas, many counties are providing additional funds toward secondary road construction and administering road construction projects. This effort defines and clarifies what is needed for counties to assume their entire secondary construction program.

VDOT established a stakeholder group of county officials from across the state. This group met on three occasions between June and August 2005. The stakeholder group suggested changes to § 33.1-23.4 of the Code of Virginia to clarify and further define how a county could assume responsibility for the secondary program within the county.

The stakeholder group also established a process for counties to follow when considering assuming responsibility of its secondary construction program. This process clearly defines what steps will be taken once a county expresses interest in assuming responsibility for its secondary program. The process includes a checklist to ensure all aspects of the program are addressed.

Finally, but most importantly, the group developed the "keys to success", which is a list of items to be considered for counties to successfully administer their secondary construction program. The stakeholder group recorded several significant factors that will be essential to the counties successfully assuming responsibility for their secondary construction program, some of which may require legislative changes. These factors or" keys" are included in appendix D of this report. The principal point throughout the stakeholder meetings was that in order for counties to assume responsibility of their secondary construction program, it should be a value added, financially expedited program. Counties must determine if they can deliver the construction program better, faster, cheaper than VDOT and have identified some of the keys to help them with that goal.