WINCHESTER — Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, has been named to the Joint Commission on Transportation Accountability by House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox.
LaRock has served on the House Transportation Committee since taking office in 2014. The new post will give him more responsibility on reviewing and funding the agencies that carry out specific transportation projects, as well as reviewing the actions of the Commonwealth Transportation Board and making recommendations to the General Assembly on transportation legislation.
“This additional role will allow me to provide further oversight to ensure that transportation agencies and funds are used to best meet the needs of our Commonwealth,” LaRock said in a statement.
LaRock was a co-patron of the legislative effort to move Virginia to SmartScale funding — an analytical method of determining which transportation projects get funding based on estimated economic return. This replaced an older system that relied more heavily on political backing.
He also sponsored successful legislation requiring traffic congestion-relief analysis on all Northern Virginia transit projects, as well as requiring an annual public hearing involving all agencies and projects in Northern Virginia in 2018.
Last year, LaRock introduced a second effort at a state constitutional amendment resolution to guard transportation funding from being used for other purposes.
LaRock said he’s “willing to question how things are done” and suggest changes. He said he’s “happy there is unanimous recognition” in the legislature that Interstate 81 needs to be improved, particularly as the Virginia Port Authority plans to expand the Virginia Inland Port in Warren County, which would increase the amount of freight truck traffic on an already congested I-81.
“If you’re running freight on those corridors, you don’t want to be stingy,” LaRock said.
He added that there might be new ways to bring private businesses into the mix when it comes to road funding, such as a “unanimous buy-in” of “stakeholders” who rely on certain roads to conduct business.