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Government Affairs

Better Reliability, Faster Commutes & New Connections

The Government Relations Department develops and implements government relations plans and outreach to achieve strategic agency goals and objectives. The purpose of these efforts is to positively influence public policy, including legislative and regulatory actions, to obtain and maximize resources necessary to achieve HRT’s vision and mission. Department staff also provide support to the External & Legislative Affairs Committee of the TDCHR.


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


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


Safety, Customer Service, Workforce Success, Fiscal Responsibility.

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles for Hampton Roads Transit Public Policy Initiatives

  • Support HRT’s mission to connect with transportation solutions that are reliable, safe, efficient, and sustainable.
  • Achieve and maintain a State of Good Repair.
  • Balanced and equitable investments across modes and areas of the Commonwealth.
  • Encourage effective project and service delivery methods to efficiently connect communities across the region with transit infrastructure and services.
  • Ensure flexibility and diversity of funding sources and financing options with the ability to strategically leverage resources to make each available dollar go farther.
  • Foster innovation and data-driven decision-making, incorporating new technologies, and using equitable methods to evaluate and prioritize investments based on the broad range of inputs, outcomes and value that public transportation provides.
  • Integration of transportation and land-use policies, plans and projects that foster private investments and expand equitable 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, a healthy environment, and thriving local and regional economies.

HRT Highlights

  • 84% of trips taken on HRT are for essential needs like traveling to/from work, school, medical appointments and home.
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic HRT services were supporting over 20,300 jobs, $548 million in employment income, and $93 million in consumer spending annually in Hampton Roads. Transit will play an important role in economic resilience and long-term growth of the region.
  • 92% of trips start by walking to bus stops, and most commuters walk to their final destination once exiting the bus, ferry, or light rail.
  • HRT provides life-line services for many citizens. About 62% of riders are low-income. About 65% have no other options and depend on transit regularly (71% of riders use HRT between 4-7 days per week).
  • 76% of HRT riders are employed, mostly full-time.
  • HRT services also provide safety and environmental benefits to Hampton Roads, such as reducing total vehicle miles traveled on roadways and harmful emissions.

The public is invited to provide input into HRT’s DRAFT 2022 Legislative and Public Policy Priorities.

Each year HRT adopts priorities, such as the DRAFT items listed below, to guide legislative and public policy initiatives to support achieving HRT’s vision and mission. HRT’s Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on 2022 priorities at its Regular Meeting on October 28, 2021, 1:00 p.m., 509 East 18th Street, Bldg. 4, Norfolk.

Use the online Public Comment form found here to offer input. Meetings of HRT committees, including the External and Legislative Affairs Committee and the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads are open to the public. Visit this page for more information on details of meetings and opportunities for public participation.

DRAFT 2022 Legislative and Public Policy Priorities

    HRT 18 Street

  • The TDCHR supports the Commonwealth providing sufficient funding and flexibility through the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation so transit agencies across Virginia will have resources necessary to ensure safe, resilient, and sustainable service in the face of the COVID-19 public health emergency, including more financial resources to support zero-fare systems to encourage transit ridership and grow ridership back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • The TDCHR encourages the Commonwealth to evaluate and update the current “performance-based” approach to allocating statewide operating assistance.
  • The TDCHR urges the Commonwealth to dedicate funding to meet the unique capital and operating needs of The Tide light rail system in Norfolk and HRT’s ferry service.
  • The TDCHR encourages the Commonwealth to appropriate funding sufficient to meet statewide transit capital needs.
  • The TDCHR supports Congress protecting and expanding the federal Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program (New Starts / Small Starts). The federal fixed-guideway program is particularly important as Hampton Roads looks to potential extensions of systems that provide a regional benefit such as The Tide light rail system, Bus Rapid Transit on the Peninsula, or similar services.
  • The TDCHR supports increased federal funding for the Bus and Bus Facilities program and maintaining a balanced mix of funding between formula-driven and competitive discretionary programs.
  • The TDCHR supports the goals of advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through improving transit access for environmental justice populations and projects that reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The TDCHR supports increased funding for transit innovations and technologies, such as zero emissions buses.
Comments on HRT’s DRAFT 2022 Legislative and Public Policy Priorities can also be emailed to or submitted via mail to: HRT Government Relations, Attn: Brian Smith, 509 East 18th Street, Norfolk, VA 23504.