The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority would share some of VDOT's responsibilities for planning and executing road and transit projects if voters in the region approve a half-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase Nov. 5.


Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.


Responsible for planning regional transportation projects; issuing bonds to pay for them; spending money collected through the sales tax increase; overseeing programs involving mass transit or congestion relief; developing regional policies to improve air quality; recommending priority projects for federal and state funds; recommending use of toll money.


The authority has 14 voting members. They are the chief elected officers of each county and city; two members of the House of Delegates from the region, appointed by the speaker of the House; a state senator appointed by the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections; and two citizens from Northern Virginia appointed by the governor, one of whom is a member of VDOT's governing Commonwealth Transportation Board.


A complex voting method is designed to balance regional interests. Proposed actions must pass by two-thirds of the members present, and the yes vote must represent two-thirds of the nine jurisdictions and two-thirds of the region's population. Fairfax County, with 55 percent of the region's population, cannot veto a proposal if that proposal is outside Fairfax. Jurisdictions have veto power over proposals within their borders.

Sources: Virginia state government, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority