Better Reliability, Faster Commutes & New Connections
In 1999, Tidewater Regional Transit merged with Peninsula Transportation District Commission (PENTRAN), to form Hampton Roads Transit, creating the largest bus network in the Commonwealth. The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads was created to govern the transit system, but with a unique challenge – how to fund operations when nearly half of the yearly budget was supported by local city general funds. This funding model was outdated, as transit agencies across the nation were being supported by state dedicated funding.
In 2014 the transportation advocacy group, Mobility Matters, was created and chaired by Delegate Matthew James and Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bryan Stephens. That same year, Connect Hampton Roads was launched, a high -level, multimodal planning initiative. The core concept was simple – Hampton Roads needed a mix of reliable transportation options to support regional connectivity and prosperity.
In 2019, the Transform Transit Project emerged, a backbone network of bus routes that are truly regional in nature. Leadership of many grassroot organizations, along with the Regional Advisory Panel, spearheaded legislative efforts to create state funding for the bus network. Senator L. Louise Lucas and Delegate Alex Q. Askew both introduced companion bills, (Senate Bill 1038 and House Bill 1726), to create the Hampton Roads Regional Transit Fund. This funding, often referred to as the HRRTF, is the first of its kind to provide dedicated funding to a public transit system in the Hampton Roads region.
The legislation, signed by Governor Ralph Northam in 2020, will generate up to $31 million annually to provide funding for the Hampton Roads Regional Transit Program through the Hampton Road Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC).
The legislation also calls for the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) to coordinate and create a Regional Transit Advisory Panel composed of representatives of major business and industry groups, employers, shopping destinations, institutions of higher education, military installations, hospitals and health care centers, public transit entities, and other groups to provide ongoing advice to the regional planning process.
To see the entire Hampton Roads Regional Transit Program, click here.