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VRE board votes against adding another state voting member

Date published: 1/19/2013


Some VRE board members said there seems to be a lot of misinformation about that issue.

They said state legislators need to know the whole story before they vote on Stuart's bill.

VRE board members and officials said they have been completely cooperative with the investigation.

During Friday's sometimes contentious meeting, VRE board members said they were disappointed in how the state went about pursuing additional voting power on the operations board.

Paul Milde, VRE board member and Stafford County supervisor, called the move "heavy-handed and sneaky."

Most on the board said they understand the state wanting to make sure it has its fair say, and they are open to discussing the issue with state officials.

Yet they also agreed that if the state wants more voting power, it should have more obligations--such as paying annual subsidies like member jurisdictions do; accepting more debt burden; or taking more responsibility in operation decisions.

Drake and state officials contend that the state deserves more say for the funding it provides.

But there is disagreement over how much funding the state provides.

Drake presented figures showing the state's portion of funding for VRE over the latest fiscal years:

In 2011, its share was 24 percent; in 2012, it was 30 percent; and in 2013, 32 percent.

VRE officials, however, say some of the funding the state claims is actually federal transportation money.

VRE puts the percentage of state funding at about 16 percent and federal funding at 20 percent. Fare revenue and local jurisdiction subsidies account for almost 64 percent of funding, according to VRE.

The annual budget for VRE in fiscal 2013 is $80 million.

The VRE board's resolution against the bill will be sent to Senate members.

The bill must still be passed in the full Senate and then go to the House of Delegates for approval before going to the governor for signature into law.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
Email: sshenk@freelancestar.com

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