Government Affairs

Better Reliability, Faster Commutes & New Connections

The Government Relations Department of Hampton Roads Transit develops and implements government relations plans and outreach to achieve strategic agency goals and objectives. The Government Relations Department is the staff support to the External & Legislative Affairs Committee which is an Ad Hoc subcommittee of the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads.

OUR VISION — A progressive mobility agency that promotes prosperity across Hampton Roads through collaboration and teamwork.

OUR MISSION — To connect Hampton Roads with transportation solutions that are reliable, safe, efficient, and sustainable.

OUR CORE VALUES — Safety, Customer Service, Workforce Success, Fiscal Responsibility.

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles for Hampton Roads Transit Public Policy Initiatives

  • Deploying services that commuters can depend on;
  • Achieving and maintaining a State-of-Good Repair;
  • Improving project and service delivery methods to efficiently connect communities across the region with transit infrastructure and services;
  • Ensuring flexibility and diversity of funding sources and financing options, including new dedicated regional transit funding, with the ability to leverage resources to make each available dollar go farther;
  • Balanced and equitable investments across modes and areas of the Commonwealth;
  • Fostering innovation and data-driven decision making, incorporating new technologies, and using robust methods to evaluate and prioritize investments;
  • Integration of transportation and land-use policies, plans and projects that foster private investments and expand access to safe and reliable transit for more segments of the Hampton Roads region;
  • Connecting more workers to jobs, customers to businesses, and access to educational, retail, medical, recreational, and other opportunities that support quality of life and thriving local and regional economies;

Benefits of Public Transportation

  • Nationwide, 71% of riders are employed and 7% are students;
  • Home values in areas located near high-frequency public transit perform 43% better than other areas;
  • 45% of Americans have no access to public transit;
  • HRT services support over 20,300 jobs and $548 million in employment income across the region;
  • Transit supports consumer spending of $93 million every year in Hampton Roads;
  • HRT services provided more than $8.8 million in safety and environmental benefits to Hampton Roads;
  • HRT services saves commuters $13.5 million in vehicle operating costs;
  • Transit Supports Industry and Growth with a Total Regional Output = $1.5 Billion Annually (Direct, Indirect, and Induced)

State Policy Positions

Governance & Oversight

The TDCHR supports adding three legislative members, two from the House of Delegates and one from the Senate, to the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads. The TDCHR also supports requiring that expertise and experience in transportation, public budgeting and finance, corporate communications, or other fields relevant to supporting effective governance and oversight be considered when making gubernatorial appointments.

Employer Tax Credits For Public Transportation

The TDCHR supports the creation of a state tax credit for employers who subsidize the cost of public transit commuting for their employees.

Statewide Transit Capital Funding

The TDCHR supports continued increases in state funding for capital assistance. The state has identified $932 million in statewide capital needs while also acknowledging a $208 million shortfall in state controlled capital funds through FY 2025 before COVID-19 impacts. Funding capital at the state level is vitally important to continued growth and future operations of public transit.

Federal Policy Positions

Innovation Grants For Multimodal Transportation

The TDCHR supports new financing programs for innovative pilot initiatives to meet needs of the commuting public such as AIM (Accelerating Innovative Mobility) which highlights FTA’s commitment to support and advance innovation in the transit industry, MOD (Mobility on Demand) Sandbox which promotes innovative business models to deliver high quality, seamless and equitable mobility options for all travelers.

Federal State-of-Good Repair (Bus)

The TDCHR supports increased federal funding for bus and bus facilities to meet State of Good Repair (SOGR) objectives. The 2020 competitive grant program increased from $289 million to $454 million. We continue to advocate for plus-up funds in the FY21 process. We have an additional $499 million in the bus and bus facilities competitive House THUD appropriations bill.

Environment Preservation Via Public Transit Use

The TDCHR urges federal financial support for better transit travel options designed to reduce the number of single occupant vehicles on roadways thereby reducing congestion, air pollution, and stormwater runoff, while combatting climate change.

Surface Transportation Act Reauthorization

The TDCHR supports passage of new surface transportation authorization legislation called Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST ACT) to replace the scheduled to expire FAST Act in September 2020.

Federal Capital Improvement Grant (CIG) Program Funding

The TDCHR supports Congress protecting and expanding federal Capital Investment Grant Program (New Starts/Small Starts) funding to meet demand. The federal fixed- guideway transit funding program is particularly important as Hampton Roads looks to possible extensions of systems that provide a regional benefit such as The Tide light rail system, Bus Rapid Transit on the Peninsula, or similar services.

STAFF

Joe DillardJoe W. Dillard Jr. is HRT’s Organizational Advancement Officer.

Mr. Dillard manages and directs strategies that promote HRT’s vision, mission, goals and objectives. He works directly with the Senior Executive Team to define and implement strategies, programs, and projects that encompass both internal and external activities supporting organizational advancement, to include implementation of HRT’s Strategic Planning Process and its major activities. In addition to promoting proactive, accurate and positive communications about programs and services and increasing awareness and support for public transit among customers, communities, civic organizations, non-profit organizations, businesses, public bodies, elected officials and staff at all levels of government, which includes directing the agency’s public policy agenda, he serves as principal liaison between the Executive Department and other departments to ensure cross-departmental synergy and achieving results through coordination and team work.

Mr. Dillard is a graduate of Norfolk State University, and holds a degree in Political Science. He has also completed all course work for a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs. His thesis is pending. Mr. Dillard was recognized in the National HBCU Top 30 Under 30 in 2016 and Hampton Roads Top 40 Under 40 in 2018. Mr. Dillard serves on various boards and commissions in the greater Hampton Roads region. He is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute of Political Leaders Program at the University of Virginia and a member of the LEAD Peninsula Class of 2016.

Email: jdillard@hrtransit.org
Phone: (757) 222-6000 ext. 6349