Devolution: Will Virginia Pass its “Neglected,” “Crumbling” Highway System on to Local Governments?


As discussed on this blog previously, there is a movement afoot in the Virginia General Assembly to transfer the responsibility and costs of the secondary road system in Virginia to your local county, city or town. See our previous post — VDOT Study: Will State Roads Become Local Again?

(To be clear, secondary roads are more than just your subdivision streets. They include nearly all roads with a number above 600. These include significant carriers of traffic including the Fairfax County Parkway, Robious Road in Chesterfield County, and many of the major through routes in rural counties.)

It is well known that the “crumbling” state highway system is in bad shape due to years and years of deferring maintenance by the General Assembly. Even the conservative blog Bacon’s Rebellion has forcefully stated, “Virginia is not spending enough on its transportation system.” See Bacon’s Rebellion post, “A Glimpse into Virginia’s Road Maintenance Future?”

Given this “legacy cost” associated with years and years of deferred maintenance, and the anticipated costs associated with future required maintenance, counties are understandably opposed. Many counties see hundreds of millions of dollars spent just to perform required but unfunded maintenance. They criticize the state for failing in its responsibilities and describe ”devolution” as yet another unfunded mandate “that is neither justifiable nor reasonable.” See “Why road ‘devolution’ is a bad idea for northern Virginia” by the Chairs of the governing bodies of Arlington County, Loudoun County and Prince William County.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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