2018 Legislative Positions

Please choose a topic:

Evergreen Advocacy Positions  |  Legislative Priorities  |  Airbnb
Atlantic Coast Pipeline  |  Certificate of Public Need (COPN)
Floor on Hampton Roads Gas Tax - Transportation Funding
Go Virginia  |  International Trade/Port of Virginia
Economic Development/Job Growth  |  Passenger Rail
Mega Sites  |  Military Support  |  Recurrent Flooding
Workforce Development  |  Education |  Tourism Economy
Capability & Capacity of Private-Sector Ship Repair

(Download 2018 GWCTA legislative positions pdf)


Evergreen Advocacy Positions

The GWCTA consistently advocates for:

  • A strong transportation system that provides mobility for residents and visitors
  • A vibrant tourism industry that provides strong economic impact
  • Support for K-12 and Higher Ed funding
  • Support for our active duty military and veterans
  • Workforce development efforts to increase student awareness and exposure to vocational and apprenticeship training to develop a strong and reliable skilled workforce.
  • Economic development initiatives designed to set the conditions which foster the startup of new businesses, sustains time-tested enterprises, while providing an environment which supports business growth

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2018 Legislative Priorities

We support:

  • Retaining the “Labor Day” law
  • Preserving Certificate of Public Need (COPN) in its current form with process reforms
  • The Jefferson Labs Collider Project as a major economic driver for our region and Commonwealth
  • Widening of I-64 from Williamsburg to Richmond
  • Efforts to tackle recurrent flooding as a regional issue

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Airbnb

Issue Summary: Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms present unique complications to traditional zoning laws as they offer the ability to convert any house into a bed-and-breakfast without approval by the surrounding municipality. This provides an unfair advantage against traditional hospitality industries like hotels because short-term rentals are not required to pay the licensing and registration fees typically required of such businesses. With the passage of Senate Bill 1578 in the 2017 the Virginia General Assembly recognized the need to establish regulations for short-term rentals by granting municipalities the power to require the registration of such platforms.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA strongly encourages the General Assembly to continue maintaining policies that enable local regulation of short-term rental platforms like Airbnb.

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Issue Summary: In order for Hampton Roads to grow towards becoming an economic powerhouse in the Mid Atlantic it must secure a consistent and reliable source of energy. With the closing of many coal fired power plants in the Commonwealth and the significant development lag in renewable energy, natural gas is the primary resource Hampton Roads can safely rely on to meet the growing demands for energy. Construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will provide Hampton Roads an excess capacity of reliable energy, further forging a flexible ecosystem that encourages continued business growth and expansion throughout Hampton Roads.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA supports the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

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Certificate of Public Need (COPN)

Issue Summary: The Commonwealth of Virginia requires health care providers (hospitals, doctors, etc.) to receive a Certificate of Public Need (COPN) to operate in the state. The COPN was developed by the Congress in 1974 to prevent costly duplicative health care services in the U.S. Presently, all hospitals in the Commonwealth are required to provide services to anyone that requires health care regardless of their ability to pay. Such mandate is not required of independent physician offices, for profit lab/testing facilities, and medical professional specialist. These health care businesses can deny services to patients without insurance or ability to pay.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA supports a strong COPN law to protect hospitals’ ability to provide medical services to all, to promote quality of care and provide a full range of essential health services. We are receptive to appropriate COPN process-related reforms, however, piecemeal deregulation of select services would present significant financial challenges, jeopardize critical services and endanger the sustainability of hospitals.

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Floor on Hampton Roads Gas Tax - Transportation Funding

Issue Summary: Moving people to and from work and transporting goods through our region to markets around the world requires a robust, multimodal, 21st century transportation network. The Commonwealth’s landmark transportation bill, HB2313, is already demonstrating tremendous benefits to our region and the Commonwealth as a whole; however, the omission of a floor on the regional motor fuels tax, one that’s consistent with the floor included on the statewide tax, threatens the ability of the Commonwealth to fully realize the vision of this landmark effort. In 2016 this omission prevented Hampton Roads from collecting an additional $45 million; lost revenue that the region could have used to further fund Hampton Road’s critically important infrastructure projects.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA supports establishing a floor on the regional gas tax that is consistent with the 2.1% floor included on the state wide tax.

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Go Virginia

Issue Summary: Go Virginia’s purpose is to create more and higher paying jobs through incentivized collaboration, which diversifies and strengthens regional economies.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA is in full support of GO Virginia and funding initiatives that promote policies to improve the regions business climate and economic competitiveness.

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International Trade/Port of Virginia

Issue Summary
The Nation’s economy is driven by globalization. Presently, we are operating in an unfavorable trade balance environment where we import more than we export. The Port of Virginia is a business hub with 50-foot inbound/outbound shipping channels that serve as a global gateway. With nearly 30 international shipping lines that connect 200+ countries, the port is a major economic driver for Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Over 95 percent of the world’s shipping lines utilize The Port of Virginia.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA supports International Trade in the Commonwealth and infrastructure investments to grow the capacity of the Port of Virginia. We favor policies that bring increased cargo into the Port to create jobs in the region and provide an increasing flow of revenue into Virginia. We support the continual growth of this asset including investment in Port infrastructure and funding to increase channel depth, width and safety.

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Economic Development - Job Growth

Issue Summary
Hampton Roads’ job growth rate is lagging behind other regions. In 2016 alone Hampton Roads’ job growth rate was one fourth of the national average. Hampton Roads can no longer rely on jobs coming mostly from federal defense spending; we must explore other avenues; we must diversify. Job growth and sustainability is achieved through attraction, retention, and expansion of our business base. In a “healthy” region 86%-90% of job growth comes from existing company expansion. Small businesses make up 99% of the businesses in Virginia. Changes in the Commonwealth’s economy disproportionally affect small businesses. Chambers play a vital role in setting the conditions for job growth.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA fully supports programs and initiatives designed to set the conditions which foster the startup of new businesses, sustains time-tested enterprises, while providing an environment which supports business growth, as appropriate, including coordinated regional marketing efforts.

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Passenger Rail

Issue Summary
Passenger rail is able to provide the Commonwealth with fast, frequent, and reliable connections to 45 other states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces. Recently, the current administration’s proposed budget eliminates funding for Amtrak’s National routes. This means millions of Virginians may have fewer transportation options causing greater traffic congestion. There is a need for Hampton Roads to be well connected via passenger rail to Richmond and the rest of the east coast corridor. The final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on possible routes was approved in August 2012 and was sent to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for approval. Currently no action has been taken. The Commonwealth of Virginia must continue to invest in rail infrastructure through dedicated funding authorized by the state legislature.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA supports funding the expansion of rail service to the Hampton Roads region and connects directly to Richmond and the entire East Coast rail system.

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Mega Sites

Issue Summary
A mega site is land prepared for constructing a business hub, usually near pre-existing transportation infrastructure and public utilities. There are several areas in the Hampton Roads region that would be suitable and/or favorable for a mega site. Williams Farm in Chesapeake is one example. If developed, the Chesapeake site will have the necessary access to the ports and important methods of transportation. Funding for this site’s infrastructure and others will be partially dependent on the state.

GWCTA Position: Support The GWCTA believes Hampton Roads needs to be predominant and relevant in the national site selection process in order to prosper as a regional economy. Therefore, we support state funding of mega sites and other sites located throughout the region, which are consistent with and support regional economic development strategies.

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Military Support

Issue Summary
Hampton Roads is home to all five military services and the only NATO command on U.S. soil. In addition, Hampton Roads has the world's largest Naval Base providing a steady flow of jobs to the community.

Historically changes in the defense budget have disproportionately impacted the Hampton Roads economy compared to other regions. Any appreciable decreases in Department of Defense expenditures could be detrimental to the economic vitality of Hampton Roads.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA supports a proactive approach to protecting our existing military assets by advocating for a strong federal defense budget and creating the conditions locally that support the military and their families. We also support the further exploration of contract-related activities to support the existing core competencies, such as cyber, ISR, etc. and infrastructure development initiatives, as appropriate, in support of our military and federal facilities.

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Recurrent FloodingRecurrent Flooding

Issue Summary
Recurrent Flooding is flooding that happens repeatedly in the same areas, typically leading to economic loss to the surrounding area. Recurrent flooding is a significant issue in Hampton Roads (2nd in the nation to New Orleans) and is predicted to become worse over the next twenty to thirty years.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA fully supports efforts to tackle recurrent flooding as a regional issue. Such efforts may (dependent upon programmatic and cost details) include the authorization of a Cabinet Secretary and support staff for the Commonwealth and the promotion of local driven strategies to mitigate recurrent flooding.

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Workforce Development

Issue Summary
Hampton Roads is experiencing a shortage of skilled labor. In a market with a rising unemployment rate among college graduates, jobs that do not require four-year degrees struggle to be filled by qualified applicants. This shortage represents a significant opportunity for employment growth in the region but a workforce development “system” has to be developed to fill the gap and perceptions about vocational training must change.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA is strongly in favor of efforts to increase student awareness and exposure to vocational and apprenticeship training to develop a strong and reliable skilled workforce. Additionally, we fully support veteran transition programs and veteran training programs focused on reducing the skill gaps in the workforce.

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Education

Issue Summary
Since workforce training and development is vital to our future success, we also must support early education programs and other educational initiatives to ensure that our students are prepared for employment in the 21st century.

GWCTA Position: Support
• Early childhood education programs
• Amendments to the Standards of Quality to expand funding
• Initiatives at the state level to create a more comprehensive, unified system of publicly funded universal employment and training services
• Increased state funding for K-12 and sustained funding for higher education

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Tourism Economy

Issue Summary
Hampton Roads is known as the largest tourism economy in the Commonwealth, with Virginia Beach and Greater Williamsburg being the top two tourism destinations, generating over $2.4 billion dollars in tourism revenues annually.

We need to protect, grow and diversify our tourism economy in Hampton Roads by generating new tourism product development, including attractions, hotels, restaurants and other vacation experiences that bring visitors to Hampton Roads.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA is strongly in favor of increased state funding to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, increased investment in tourism innovation and expansion, including major attractions and other entrepreneurial initiatives and international marketing for tourism business relocation and expansion.

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Capability & Capacity of Private-Sector Ship Repair

Issue Summary
Over the last several years, through decommissioning and other means of attrition, Hampton Roads has lost roughly 20 conventional non-nuclear surface ships that called Hampton Roads home. With all newly commissioned fossil fueled ships being homeported in other locations, the risk of reduction to the capacity of the private-sector Ship Repair Industry in Hampton Roads, and its effect as a significant driver to Virginia’s economy, would be catastrophic for the Navy and Virginia’s economy.

Although Hampton Roads remains home to the World’s largest Naval Base, the effects of the loss of these ships will be devastating in terms of atrophy to an enormous economic and national security asset. This reduction of capacity would impact not only the Navy, but also the no-fewer-than 260 Hampton Roads companies supporting and performing ship repair and building.

GWCTA Position: Support
The GWCTA supports all efforts to promote replacement of displaced and lost conventional fossil-fuel surface ships in Hampton Roads to avoid any possible loss of economic vitality in the region. We recognize the enormous economic and national security impact of this loss of ships. We will use all necessary means to bring to the attention of state and federal legislators and Navy leaders the urgent need for Hampton Roads to maintain its strong and largest Naval presence, and the economic vitality that it provides to our region.

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