POQUOSON — More than 20 people, mostly transportation officials, attended the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Committee's (HRTAC) first community meeting at Poquoson High School.
Voting members present at Wednesday's meet-and-greet included Poquoson Mayor W. Eugene Hunt; Alan P. Krasnoff, HRTAC chair and Chesapeake mayor; and Del. David E. Yancey, R-Newport News.
The group, established by legislation signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in April, will manage and allocate regional transportation money from fuel and sales taxes. Although it has no taxing authority, the organization also can leverage those funds by issuing bonds or pursuing other borrowing strategies, such as entering into public-private partnerships and approving tolls on projects.
Camelia Ravanbakht, interim Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization executive director who is helping to oversee the transportation accountability commission, told residents the new commission only serves to fund major road projects that address serious congestion.
Residents in attendance were curious about how the committee planned to spend a projected $1.2 billion over the next six years in estimated fuel and sales tax revenue between fiscal years 2015 and 2020. Other questions addressed a proposed third crossing and Interstate 64 widening.
Given the group's bonding capacity, area resident James Atticus Bowden asked how local municipalities would pay for their share if the group seeks such a financial route. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding the localities will assume the debt," Bowden said.
Ravanbakht said the municipalities would not be liable for any bond payments issued by the transportation committee, and that repayment from any bond issued by HRTAC would come from fuel and sales taxes collected for the Hampton Roads Transpiration Fund.
O'Neal can be reached by phone at 757-247-4744.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun