For purposes of this section, “cancellation” means complete elimination of a highway construction or improvement project from the six-year plan.The governing body of each county in the secondary state highway system may, jointly with the representatives of the Department as designated by the Commissioner of Highways, prepare a six-year plan for the improvements to the secondary state highway system in that county. Each such six-year plan shall be based upon the best estimate of funds to be available to the county for expenditure in the six-year period on the secondary state highway system. Each such plan shall list the proposed improvements, together with an estimated cost of each project so listed. Following the preparation of the plan, the board of supervisors or other local governing body shall conduct a public hearing after publishing notice in a newspaper published in or having general circulation in the county once a week for two successive weeks and posting notice of the proposed hearing at the front door of the courthouse of such county 10 days before the meeting. At the public hearings, which shall be conducted jointly by the board of supervisors and the representative of the Department, the entire six-year plan shall be discussed with the citizens of the county and their views considered. Following the discussion, the local governing body, together with the representative of the Department, shall finalize and officially adopt the six-year plan, which shall then be considered the official plan of the county.At least once in each calendar year, representatives of the Department in charge of the secondary state highway system in each county, or some representative of the Department designated by the Commissioner of Highways, shall meet with the governing body of each county in a regular or special meeting of the local governing body for the purpose of preparing a budget for the expenditure of improvement funds for the next fiscal year. The representative of the Department shall furnish the local governing body with an updated estimate of funds, and the board and the representative of the Department shall jointly prepare the list of projects to be carried out in that fiscal year taken from the six-year plan by order of priority and following generally the policies of the Board in regard to the statewide improvements to the secondary state highway system. Such list of priorities shall then be presented at a public hearing duly advertised in accordance with the procedure outlined in this section, and comments of citizens shall be obtained and considered. Following this public hearing, the board, with the concurrence of the representative of the Department, shall adopt, as official, a priority program for the ensuing year, and the Department shall include such listed projects in its secondary highways budget for the county for that year.At least once every two years following the adoption of the original six-year plan, the governing body of each county, together with the representative of the Department, shall update the six-year plan of the county by adding to it and extending it as necessary so as to maintain it as a plan encompassing six years. Whenever additional funds for secondary highway purposes become available, the local governing body may request a revision in its six-year plan in order that such plan be amended to provide for the expenditure of the additional funds. Such additions and extensions to each six-year plan shall be prepared in the same manner and following the same procedures as outlined herein for its initial preparation. Where the local governing body and the representative of the Department fail to agree upon a priority program, the local governing body may appeal to the Commissioner of Highways. The Commissioner of Highways shall consider all proposed priorities and render a decision establishing a priority program based upon a consideration by the Commissioner of Highways of the welfare and safety of county citizens. Such decision shall be binding.Nothing in this section shall preclude a local governing body, with the concurrence of the representative of the Department, from combining the public hearing required for revision of a six-year plan with the public hearing required for review of the list of priorities, provided that notice of such combined hearing is published in accordance with procedures provided in this section.All such six-year plans shall consider all existing highways in the secondary state highway system, including those in the towns located in the county that are maintained as a part of the secondary state highway system, and shall be made a public document.If any county cancels any highway construction or improvement project included in its six-year plan after the location and design for the project has been approved, such county shall reimburse the Department the net amount of all funds expended by the Department for planning, engineering, right-of-way acquisition, demolition, relocation, and construction between the date on which project development was initiated and the date of cancellation. To the extent that funds from secondary highway allocations have been expended to pay for a highway construction or improvement project, all revenues generated from a reimbursement by the county shall be deposited into that same county’s secondary highway allocation. The Commissioner of Highways may waive all or any portion of such reimbursement at his discretion.The provisions of this section shall not apply in instances where less than 100 percent of the right-of-way is available for donation for unpaved highway improvements.
Code 1950; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-70.01; 1977, c. 578; 1979, c. 64; 1981, c. 240; 1993, c. 802; 2001, cc. 105, 130; 2005, c. 645; 2011, cc. 434, 493; 2014, c. 805; 2015, c. 684.