Smart Scale (VA House Bill 2 Legislation)
Effective in 2015, Virginia House Bill 2 (HB 2) transportation legislation employs an objective, data-driven process utilized to select transportation projects for funding. Now known as Smart Scale, this process replaces an older, more arbitrary system of state funding of projects which relied primarily on decisions by the Commonwealth Transportation Board based largely on local input and professional judgment.
Projects are now ranked based on five factors which include Economic Development, Safety, Accessibility, Congestion Mitigation, and Environmental Quality. Metropolitan areas having a 2010 population of 200,000 or more must include a sixth factor which is land use. When an entity (locality, PDC, MPO) submits a project application for Smart Scale funding, that project is ranked along with others throughout the state and respective VDOT district, based on the factors noted above as well as cost. The projects that deliver the greatest benefits for the least cost typically score highest. In the West Piedmont Planning District, economic development and safety are the two highest weighted factors, meaning that these aspects are considered most heavily during the scoring process.
September 30, 2015 was the deadline for the first HB 2 project application submission period; a second submission process will take place during the same period in 2016. After 2016, Smart Scale project applications will occur every other year - on even years such as 2018, 2020, etc.