Central Virginia Transportation Authority names first-ever executive director
PlanRVA’s Chet Parsons leads CVTA in its quest to fund big and small transportation projects.
Since the establishment of the Central Virginia Transportation Authority three years ago by the General Assembly, Chet Parsons has served as the acting executive director.
“I've been fulfilling a lot of the roles as the Authority found its legs and became functional,” said Parsons. “PlanRVA provides staff support for the Authority. So, I've been able to work with the members, keep things moving and get things ready to go.”
That was until the members made his title official.
“I think with the title, it really just opens up the door for me to focus 100% on the Authority and how it operates,” said Parsons.
Through his work as the Director of Transporation with PlanRVA — a group that works with the region’s nine localities on transportation projects — Parsons has been able to use his 26 years of planning experience to guide CTVA’s funding initiatives.
“But now we can think about kind of the bigger picture of funding of big regional priorities in the Greater Richmond region,” he said.
To get funds, localities go through an application process that happens every two years.
“We're now gearing up this fall to open up applications for our third round of funding,” said Parsons.
The money to support all the transportation projects comes from sales and gas taxes. Parsons said the transportation authority then transfers those revenues to projects — with 35% going to big regional projects such as bridge replacements and road widening.
Fifty percent goes directly back to localities for transportation projects of their choosing. And the last 15% goes to the Greater Richmond Transit Company to fund regional public transportation.
The next big step for Parsons will be to oversee the ability for CTVA to issue bonds to fund even more projects; something he says the General Assembly included when they approved the Authority.
“Up until this point, at least through those first few rounds of funding, we have used the “pay-go” model,” said Parsons. “If there's money in the bank, we can have that available to spend. But you can greatly increase the ability to support more projects or bigger projects, if you issue bonds.”
Parsons said that’s not something the Authority is ready to jump into just yet.
“I think everyone has been cautious to make sure that we understand all the implications and how to how we're going to operate as an authority,” he said. “So, if and when the Authority's ready to do that, I'll be there to support them 100% to make sure we do it the right way.”
Past funding projects encompass roughly 45 projects, from widening a 29-mile gap of Interstate 64 in New Kent County to developing sections of the upcoming Fall Line Trail — a multi-use route between Ashland and Petersburg.