Tuesday, January 25, 2011

HB 2504

Today's Virginian-Pravda brings us the story of HB 2504, a bill introduced by Delegate John Cosgrove of Chesapeake. It would change the composition of the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (TDCHR) from two Commissioners per city appointed by their City Council, to one Commissioner (who couldn't be an elected official) from each city appointed by the Governor and one ex officio member appointed by each City Council. There are a couple very serious problems with the bill.

First, what happens if the Governor's appointee is absent from a meeting? Does that city then have no vote? Under the current system, each city has two Commissioners and can also name two alternates. Unless all four are absent, someone is there to represent their city's interest.

Second, what of the TDCHR's committee system? Currently only Commissioners may serve on a full committee. (There are two civilian-filled subcommittees.) If you make Cosgrove's change to the Commission composition without changing the criteria for committee membership, you cut the pool of eligibles in half. Can one of those ex officio members serve on a committee? If so, they could vote in committee by not on the Commission. Does that make sense?

As well-intentioned as Delegate Cosgrove's bill may be, you can't simply copy SPSA reform over and use the exact same blueprint at Hampton Roads Transit (HRT).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another fatal flaw. Spending at SPSA is mandatory by the localities. At HRT it is voluntary.

So if a city doesn't like its gubernatorial appointee's actions, they can simply stop funding. Net result is less transit service.