Local governments called ‘unorganized’ in failure to grab transportation package

Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-26 00:52:32-05

RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) -- State Senator Don McEachin's final speech before the General Assembly regarding transportation was a critical one - blasting local government in Central Virginia for being "unorganized."

"I would be remiss if I did not send some signal, some message to Metro Richmond," Senator McEachin, from Henrico, said.

"You have missed the boat because you are not organized. You have missed the boat because you have not come together in much the same way as Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads," Senator McEachin said.

Senator McEachin was upset that other parts of the state - like Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads -  are receiving regional packages and in turn improvements to roads and bridges while Central Virginia is not.

We showed a portion of McEachin's floor speech to Henrico County Supervisor Tyrone Nelson.

"We missed the boat unfortunately," Nelson told CBS 6 political reporter Joe St. George.

Nelson seemed to agree with McEachin - believing the region needs to view this as a wake-up call.

"Sometimes because of the splintered, disjointed relationships that we have in our localities - it impacts us in a negative way," Nelson said.

Nelson seemed to indicate that the Richmond Metropolitan Authority (RMA) needs to have equal representation on its board in order to achieve better communication.

Presently the board consists of six Richmond city votes, two Henrico votes, and two Chesterfield votes.  A bill that would of changed the representation of the RMA died in the General Assembly this year.

RMA General Manager Angela Grey, in her first TV interview since joining the organization one month ago, said the region should look at this as a real opportunity.

"I think this is an opportunity to sit down and work even closer together," Grey said.

While Grey told CBS 6 that "there is a lot to say about having equal representation," her office later clarified with CBS 6 that the RMA does not need to have equal representation to achieve improved results.

Transportation experts remind disappointed lawmakers that the regional transportation packages also carry with it higher taxes in those areas.