Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
A closed meeting on VRE?
The Board of Supervisors has a closed session scheduled for tonight where it will discuss "investment of public funds where competition or bargaining is involved, and legal advice pertaining thereto, specifically possible membership in a regional transportation consortium."
Now, all indications are that this regional transportation consortium is the Virginia Railway Express. The question I hope to get answered is what is the bargaining and competition involved in VRE, if that is in fact what the supervisors will discuss in closed session?
On Sept. 19, VRE CEO Dale Zehner responded by letter to County Administrator Randy Wheeler’s Sept. 15 e-mail requesting information on membership and funding requirements. The final contractual terms–a public document–must be approved by the VRE Operations Board, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and the Potomac and Rappahannock Commission. This is supervisors’ first major step in considering the VRE service in several years, but this discussion will be behind closed doors for the time being.
Mr. Zehner points out that the major changes in the agreement between a locality and VRE are:
- All jurisdictions have voting privileges on the VRE Operations Board
- subsidy payments are based on total ridership in the jurisdiction with no population component
- The two commissions also have delegated more decision-making authority to the Operations Board
Zehner states in his letter that due to the timing of the discussion with VRE’s budget cycle, he urged supervisors to make a decision by Jan. 1 with the intent of joining July 1, 2009.