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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 02:49 PM ET, 10/20/2011

Withheld money coming to Virginia transportation group

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission said Thursday that it expects to receive some of the withheld funds it is owed by the state starting Friday.

Earlier this week, the NVTC signed an agremeent that would give the state more representation on local transit boards.

Kala Quintana, director of communications for NVTC, wrote in an e-mail that the group had “received a confirmation from Treasury that $9.4 million of the operating assistance will be arriving on Friday.” The balance of the money NVTC is owed from the state — $20.6 million — is expected to arrive Monday.

Thelma Drake, director of the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, wanted the NVTC to sign an agreement that would give state officials more influence on local transit boards.

The NVTC appoints four members to the Metro board and had expressed concern about the legality of the new agreement and whether it would mean Virginia would get two seats on the Metro board.

But after discussions, the state changed the agreement to clarify that it wants only one seat. NVTC’s chief financial officer signed the agreement Monday.

Since July, Virginia’s rail and public transportation department has withheld roughly $30 million from NVTC until it signed the agreement. That figure was expected to reach $40 million later this month.

Quintana said she received an e-mail early Thursday morning from Drake saying that “the money was on its way” now that NVTC has signed the agreement.

Each year, the rail and transportation department gives $168 million to the NVTC. The money helps fund Metro, Virginia Railway Express and bus systems in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Alexandria.

The disagreement over the funds to NVTC occurred as Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) appointed lawyer and longtime Northern Virginia business leader James Dyke last month to the NVTC board.

Dyke will replace Drake, who will become an alternate to the 19-member NVTC board. The NVTC board comprises local and state officials from Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington counties and the cities of Falls Church, Alexandria and Fairfax.

The NVTC swore in Dyke as a member this month and promised to appoint him to the Metro board in January.

In April, Virginia’s divided General Assembly voted for a budget amendment giving the governor the authority to appoint a seat on the NVTC and the Metro board.

Staff writer Anita Kumar contributed to this report.

Follow me on Twitter @postmetrogirl.

By  |  02:49 PM ET, 10/20/2011

Categories:  Northern Virginia

 
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