Beyond the Byrd Road Act: VDOT's Relationship with Virginia's Urban Counties

Report No: 98-R29

Published in 1998

About the report:

Since the Byrd Road Act of 1932, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has been responsible for secondary road maintenance and construction in all of the state's counties except two (Arlington and Henrico). Such an arrangement is unusual among the 50 states. The rapid growth of many urban counties since 1980 has raised questions about whether complete state responsibility for secondary roads is optimal. A few of the largest counties have also considered their statutory options for taking over this responsibility. This study assesses the relationships between VDOT and 14 of the state's fastest-growing counties. It identifies factors that influence the relationships and characterizes the kinds of secondary roads issues that arise most frequently. Potential constraints on significant change in any county's secondary roads responsibility are discussed. Data that are most likely to be useful to VDOT and the counties if any county decides to pursue greater responsibility for its secondary roads in the future are outlined. Interviews with VDOT residency staff also revealed organizational issues, a number of which relate to significant staffing losses in the wake of the 1991 and 1993 early retirement programs. These are also discussed.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Amy A. O'Leary, Ph.D.

Last updated: December 15, 2023

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: