The Richmond City Council delayed a proposal to create a new department of transportation last month. Resolution 2021-R086 would have requested the earmarking of funding for a more focused city Department of Mobility and Multimodal Transportation. It will be debated further at the Land-Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee’s next meeting in late March.
Councilman Andreas Addison, the resolution’s creator, agreed to forgo the proposal for Mayor Levar Stoney’s 2022 budget. This choice delays the department’s potential creation by at least a year.
One of Mayor Stoney’s main goals when running for office was to expand public access to public transportation and work towards building a regional transit system. Creating the Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility in 2020 helped progress towards that goal. Councilman Addison’s attempt to expand on Mayor Stoney’s goals met with resistance in February.
Mayor Stoney announced his budget proposal for the Fiscal Year 2023 on March 4. It includes $17 million in transportation infrastructure funding through the city’s Capital Improvement Plan. Also included is an increase in funding for the Greater Richmond Transit Corporation. The mayor hopes these investments will help Richmond feel more accessible.
Councilmembers Still Unsure of Policy’s Efficacy
Debates continue as to whether the new department would reduce the backlog of other departments or create more administrative overhead. At the meeting, Councilwoman Ellen Robertson expressed an interest in gathering more information before proceeding. Councilman Addison still believes “the conversation is worth having.” However, other government officials believe that creating another department would slow down the process of improving Richmond’s transportation.
Councilman Addison emphasized the need for a quicker response time to issues in arguing for the department. The new department would take transportation issues away from the Department of Public Works.
Hopefully, the council resolves these issues sooner rather than later, so Richmond residents like us can stop waiting around!