HD10 - Executive Summary of the Joint Subcommittee Studying Reduction of Highway Noise Abatement Costs

    Executive Summary:
    Joint Subcommittee Studying
    Reduction of Highway Noise Abatement Costs
    (HJR 551, 2005)

    The Committee held three meetings during the 2006 interim: the first on June 6, in the General Assembly Building, the second in Newport News on August 17, and a third on September 26, again in the General Assembly Building. The Joint Subcommittee's mandate under HJR 551 of 2005 expired on November 30, 2006.

    After hearing several briefings from state and local officials, an informal consensus was reached among the found House members of the Joint Subcommittee (no Senate members having been appointed) in two areas. The members learned that local governments can, under existing law, do a great deal to prevent the need for expensive highway noise abatement structures through careful land-use planning and negotiations with developers prior to issuance of building permits or changes in zoning. Through informal discussion with Del. Joe T. May, Chairman of the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), the members learned that there are several emerging technologies -- and reconsiderations of existing technologies -- that may have very beneficial impacts upon both the effectiveness of noise abatement structures and technologies and their costs. Because of its technical nature, further exploration of this aspect of the noise abatement cost issue should, more appropriately, be pursued by JCOTS.

    Although no formal report embodying any legislative recommendations of the Joint Subcommittee will be submitted as a House Document to the 2007 Session, Chairman Frederick will be offering one bill [House Bill No. 2449] to deal with some of the more salient issues considered by the Joint Subcommittee during its two years of study.