Hampton Roads' Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) met on Wednesday for it's November meeting. There was one speaker under Public Comment: a bicyclist pushing bike paths. The consent agenda was unanimously passed.
Aubrey Layne, the recently-appointed member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), addressed the TPO. He expressed his thoughts on transportation and offered to work with the TPO where possible.
Mayor Joe Frank of Newport News has been Chairman of the TPO Committee, the body responsible for drawing up reforms of the TPO. All of it's work is done but for one point: fixing the public input process. Staff is sorting through a huge amount of citizen submissions on the subject. With that, Frank moved that the TPO Committee be dissolved, with Staff finishing work on public input. It passed unanimously.
The matter of setting up a citizens transportation advisory committee was covered. The committee is authorized to have a maximum membership of 30, and required to be geographically diverse. An initial group of 20 is scheduled to be voted on next month. Once any complaints about the composition of the committee are received, the final 10 members will be named to try to balance. Senator Yvonne Miller spoke up about the need for women and minorities to be represented.
The ongoing effort to prioritize the region's projects continues. The TPO voted to continue the work based on the interim criteria. What you didn't learn from Debbie Messina's utterly misleading story in today's paper was that the run of projects was only a test bed of less than 25% of the region's proposed projects, the criteria may be tweaked as the additional projects are loaded in, and the TPO was very specific that they were not endorsing the initial set of rankings.
Finally, the TPO voted to issue a RFP to hire a consultant on High Speed Rail. The naming of a High Speed Rail Task Force will now be delayed until the consultant is hired, allowing the consultant to input on the process.