The Virginia General Assembly began on January 10th and numerous bills impacting our industry have been introduced. We are actively engaged on behalf of our members with all of these bills, which include:
- Funding: There are several transportation funding bills this year, including ones that would raise the gas tax “floor” in NOVA and Hampton Roads. We have been supporting such an effort since 2014 and are optimistic that this is the year we can get some floor in both areas. In addition, we expect the General Assembly to act on the constitutional “lock box” that would put restrictions on the General Assembly’s ability to take transportation money for other uses. Finally, there are two bills that would look at funding scenarios for improvements to I-81.
- Labor: There is an effort to repeal the statutory limitations on project labor agreements on design-bid-build and design-build projects which we strongly oppose. We will be pursuing legislation that will extend the PLA limitation to P3 projects. In addition, there is legislation to raise the minimum wage and provide for family leave.
- Procurement: There are several bills on the procurement of professional services. In addition, we believe there bills to “water down” low, qualified bidding on design-bid-build projects by allowing agencies and local governments to take subjective criteria into consideration in deciding on the award of transportation projects. We are strongly opposed to these bills.
- Practical Design: Legislation has been introduced that would require the Department of Transportation to employ practical design methods for any highway system project. We believe that this legislation is unnecessary as VDOT currently has an I&IM on practical design.
- Work Zone Safety: Like last year, there are several bills aimed at improving work zone safety by, among other things, limiting the use of cell phones while driving in work zones. We have worked with legislators to have these bills introduced and will actively support their passage.
A complete list of the high priority bills is attached. If you have any questions, please call Jeff Southard.