The Board of Supervisors will make a push in the General Assembly to secure funding needed to keep Virginia Regional Transit's Loudoun operations up and running. To help with county staff members’ efforts, supervisors want to ask the county’s state lobbyists to ask that additional state funding be included in the transportation bill.
The board’s Transportation/Land Use Committee voted unanimously Friday morning, with Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) absent, to recommend the full board ratify that position. The board is expected to take it up at its Feb. 20.
In January, almost two years after the 2010 Census data was released, Virginia Regional Transit representatives were informed that a reclassification of Loudoun to an urban cluster makes it unlikely to continue receiving 5311 funding—federal funding for public transportation in rural areas. If nothing can be done, VRT would lose funding for its Loudoun operations at the end of September.
Under the new classification area roughly east of Rt. 15, including the Town of Leesburg, has been identified as urban.
With that change, the county loses not only the federal funding, but also access to the state funds that go along with it. Under the current system all the money has gone directly to VRT. But with the new classification all money would have to go to the county government and the county would have to allocate it to VRT, County Administrator Tim Hemstreet said.
“We have applied directly to the state for funding to be provided to us,” he said. “We are not sure how much that will be.”
Hemstreet said county staff members also are working to determine how much money it would cost to maintain the current level of service. The state funding question leaves the final tally in flux, he said.
“We will come to you with a package most likely by your first budget work session on March 4,” he said.
Supervisor Ken Reid (R-Leesburg), who put forward the motion, pointed out that the Town of Leesburg has been working diligently on the funding problem, even traveling repeatedly to Richmond.
“I think it is incumbent upon this Board of Supervisors to work more closely with our delegation,” he said. “We have an opportunity with both of these bills going to conference to provide at least some level of funding.”