While many riders may not think of what goes on behind the scenes to make their commutes happen, dozens of committed officials and professional staffers are committed to maintaining and growing public transportation in Northern Virginia.  

NVTC and VRE's History

The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) was founded in 1964. While it would be nearly three decades before VRE trains started rolling down the tracks, discussions surrounding a commuter rail system in Northern Virginia began soon after the General Assembly created the Northern Virginia Transportation District. The founding jurisdictions included Arlington and Fairfax Counties and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax. Loudon County joined in 1990.  

A 1984 feasibility study kicked off the formal planning stage. Two years later came the origination of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), created, in part, to join with NVTC in launching VRE.

NVTC and VRE Today

To this day, NVTC and PRTC support and appoint members to the VRE Operations Board. The two Commissions jointly own all the assets, including the rolling stock and stations.  

The creation and ongoing support of VRE is an example of how NVTC (and PRTC) bring together elected officials from across Northern Virginia to make regional decisions to improve transportation. NVTC gives communities a voice and promotes cross-jurisdictional cooperation. That cooperation is evident in how Northern Virginia manages its relationship with Metro, speaking with one voice to ensure high-quality service across the region. NVTC is also active in planning for regional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems and, through comprehensive data analysis, helps local systems find the best routes for their buses.  

It is no secret the Washington, DC Metropolitan region is one of the most traffic-congested areas in the country. While many Virginians choose to travel by rail to move about the region, it is important to offer a variety of modal options to get people to their destinations faster. But no one person, jurisdiction or agency can do it alone.

Created by the General Assembly in 2002, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) works with jurisdictions and agencies across the region to prioritize and fund regional multimodal transportation investments that will reduce congestion and improve mobility in Northern Virginia as a whole, rather than just one jurisdiction or locality. In a rapidly growing metropolitan area, it truly takes a collaborative effort that looks beyond jurisdictional lines, to reduce congestion and get people home to loved ones faster.

NVTA’s member jurisdictions, comprising the four counties and five cities in Northern Virginia, are eligible to apply for funding to be allocated to transportation projects impacting the entire region. These member jurisdictions include the Counties of Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington and Prince William, and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. In addition, the five largest towns in Northern Virginia (Towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, Purcellville and Vienna), transit agencies such as VRE and Metro, and selected Commonwealth of Virginia/regional agencies such as Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), may also apply.

In fact, on July 9th, NVTA adopted the FY2020-2025 Six Year Program, the Authority’s fifth funding program and the most competitive to date. $1.44 billion in multimodal transportation funding was requested by 13 Northern Virginia localities and agencies, including VRE and DRPT, with $539 million in Authority regional revenues available. The Authority unanimously voted to fund 21 of the 41 transportation projects submitted for funding consideration, for full or partial funding. VRE was awarded $15.8 million in regional revenue funds for the VRE Crystal City Station Improvements Project.

Additionally, another railway project in Northern Virginia, the Franconia-Springfield Passenger Rail Bypass, sponsored by DRPT, was awarded $22,958,821 in partial funding. Through the new funding Program, and four previously adopted funding programs, the Authority is investing more than $243 million in regionally significant rail projects located in Northern Virginia, benefitting the region at large.

From the counties and cities that make up the Northern Virginia region, to transportation and transit agencies, to advocacy groups, to the business community, to the citizens the Authority serves, NVTA thanks everyone involved for making this milestone happen. Through a collaborative and regional approach, together we’re addressing the region’s traffic woes and moving Northern Virginians forward.