Porter to represent county on planning, transportation boards

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Southampton County Supervisor Barry Porter has been reappointed by the board to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, as his two-year terms were set to expire on June 30. He was also appointed to the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, a position formerly held by chairman Dallas Jones.

“It’s common sense,” vice chairman Ronald West said. “He already has the experience. You can’t have one without the other, and he needs to be at [each meeting].”

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission is a regional organization that represents 17 local governments. Its purpose is to encourage and facilitate local government cooperation and state-local cooperation in addressing regional issues, such as providing citizens with planning, research and analysis on matters of mutual concern.

Working in conjunction with the HRPDC, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization is responsible for transportation planning and decision-making across the region and coordinates responsibilities with the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads.

Comprised of 14 counties and cities, three state delegates, two state senators and four nonvoting ex-officio members, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission is responsible for determining how new regional money will be invested in transportation projects.

“Legislation approved by the General Assembly in 2013 established the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund, imposing an additional 0.7 percent sales tax and 2.1 percent state tax on wholesale distributors of motor fuels in all localities embraced by Planning District 23, including Southampton County, starting July 1 of that year,” county administrator Mike Johnson said. “These special revenues are paid into the state treasury and credited to the HRTF, along with any interest earned on them, and used solely for new construction projects on new or existing roads, bridges and tunnels in the localities comprising Planning District 23. The fund is managed by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission.”

The elected officer had previously been defined as the chairman of the board of supervisors, but recent legislation (Senate Bill 476) provides that any member of the governing body may represent the county on the commission provided that he or she be appointed by their peers.