The mission of the RMTA is to build and operate a variety of public facilities and offer public services, especially transportation related, within the Richmond metropolitan area, each of which is operated and financed primarily by user fees. Our efforts are dedicated to the following constituents:
Joi Taylor Dean currently serves as the CEO for the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“RMTA”), a regional transportation authority that operates and maintains critical transportation infrastructure in the Richmond Metropolitan area. As CEO, Ms. Dean is responsible for developing and directing the Authority’s long-range planning and development activities, including financial management systems, legislation, planning and design work, and construction activities. She also leads the organization’s regional partnerships with the regional local governments, civic and special interest groups.
Prior to her current position, Ms. Dean served as the RMTA’s Chief of Staff where she worked closely with the CEO providing input and was responsible for all facets of the Authority including developing policy related to RMTA operations, managing RMTA public relations, tracking and monitoring state and federal legislation, and conferring with RMTA legal counsel as necessary on a range of issues.
Ms. Dean’s other career highlights include:
Founder and President of the Dean Strategy Group, a company that provided management and consulting services in the areas of political consulting, strategic communications, business development, government affairs, grass roots advocacy, and coalition building. Ms. Dean used her diverse background with linkages to government, the political arena, the legal community, and the nonprofit world to develop and manage relationships and achieve results for her clients.
A decade of experience in the legal and political arena where she served as a Special Assistant to New Jersey Attorney General, Peter Harvey, and worked as a liaison between the Attorney General and federal, state and local elected officials as well as religious organizations and community based organizations.
Additionally, Ms. Dean served as a Legal Specialist in the Consumer Fraud Prosecution, Antitrust, and Affirmative Litigation sections of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office Division of Law where she worked on cases to protect the finances of the citizens of New Jersey by helping to identify and prosecute consumer and mortgage fraud and preventing business monopolies.
An active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first sorority founded for African American women, Ms. Dean has served as the Business Manager for the North Atlantic Region, as a member of the North Atlantic Standards Evaluation Team and as the New Jersey State Coordinator for AKA Connection.
Ms. Dean holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Political Science from Hampton University and a Juris Doctor from William and Mary Law School.
Leslie Chambers Mehta joined the RMTA as Chief of Staff in February 2018. She has nearly two decades of legal experience and has worked in law firms and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, Ms. Mehta was the legal director at the ACLU of Virginia where she was the head of the legal department and managed all aspects of complex litigation.
As Chief of Staff, she works closely with the CEO to provide input on all RMTA matters, including managing public relations, tracking state and federal legislation, developing policy related to RMTA operations, cooperating and coordinating with RMTA legal counsel on legal matters, and assisting with prioritizing issues of concern to the organization.
Ms. Mehta received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. from Howard University School of Law. Ms. Mehta is an active member of the Virginia state bar and is inactive with the state bars of Maryland, Missouri, Kansas, and California.
James Madison joined the RMTA as Director of Finance in January 2017. Mr. Madison has 20+ years of Finance and Accounting experience, starting as an auditor with the accounting firm, KPMG. He has held leadership roles in the public and private sector across diverse industries that include transportation, energy, manufacturing, telecommunications, and broadcast media. He has worked as a consultant on various strategic projects to include business development and start-ups, acquisition valuation and integration, system implementations, tax research, and internal control assessments. His most recent role was financial management of a New York State Transportation Authority that provides public transit services and a regional transportation center.
In his role, Mr. Madison will oversee all financial, investment, and risk management operations. He will develop fiscally sound policies and strategies to ensure robust stewardship of RMTA assets.
Mr. Madison received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of the State of New York and a Master of Business Administration from Regis University. He is a Certified Public Accountant.
Mr. Madison is a veteran and served in engineering and security roles for the U.S. Navy.
Sheryl B. Johnson joined the RMTA in February 2001 as human resources manager. She transitioned to director of human resources in July 2014. Johnson is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all human resources activities of the Authority, including policy and program development, recruitment, performance management, employee relations, compensation, and benefits management.
Ms. Johnson received a B.A. in Foreign Language (Interdisciplinary Major Program) from the University of Virginia, and holds the Professional in Human Resources designation (PHR). Johnson is a member of the National Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR). Ms. Johnson brings 20+ years of professional human resources experience to the RMTA.
Theresa M. Simmons, P.E. joined the RMTA in September 2010 as the RMTA engineer. In December 2013, she was promoted to director of operations. She is responsible for the operation of the Powhite Parkway, the Downtown Expressway, and the Boulevard Bridge; operations at The Diamond baseball stadium and Main Street Station. Ms. Simmons also represents the RMTA as a voting member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The MPO is the region’s federally designated regional transportation planning organization that serves as the forum for cooperative transportation decision-making in the Richmond Region.
Her role also includes working with the General Manager on short-range and long-range planning. She also analyzes project designs and interprets data in an effort to provide sound advice and to make recommendations to the General Manager and Board of Directors on operational and project specific matters. She is also involved in the evaluation, designing and planning of new projects and major improvements to RMTA assets.
Ms. Simmons received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of South Alabama with a work background in site construction, material testing, highway design, and geotechnical experience. In addition Ms. Simmons earned a MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also has a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Alabama and is a graduate of the executive development program from International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association Leadership Academy. Ms. Simmons brings 16 years of project planning and engineering design to the RMTA. Ms. Simmons is a registered Professional Engineer in Alabama and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Marilyn West was appointed to the Board as a City of Richmond representative in September 2012 and elected Chair of the Board in June 2020. West is Chairwoman and CEO of M.H. West & Co., a 22 year old Virginia-based consulting company specializing in management, planning and education services. West has over 30 years of experience working with CEOs, executive management, and governance of public and private sector businesses. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Waynesburg College in Pennsylvania and a masters degree from University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health.
Marvin Tart, Sr. was appointed to the Board as a Henrico County representative in July 2014 and elected Vice-Chair of the Board in June 2020. Tart represents the Fairfield District on the County Transportation Safety Commission where he has served for six years. He is a retired VDOT employee with over 40 years of experience. At VDOT, Tart held various positions as a transportation designer and planner. His vast experience also included stints as a project and program manager. Tart earned an Associate’s degree in Engineering Technology from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Additionally, Tart has earned certificates in project management from The George Washington University and traffic management from Northwestern University. Tart is a 1995 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond.
Carlos M. Brown was appointed to the Board as a City of Richmond representative in February 2011 and served as Chair of the Board from July of 2012 to July of 2015. Brown is the Director of Alternative Energy Solutions Business Development and Commericialization Strategies for Dominion Resources Services, Inc, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, Inc., one of the nation’s largest energy companies. Prior to his current role Brown served as Senior Counsel for Dominion, where he was responsible for the legal execution of the company’s intellectual property, capital markets, merger and acquisition, and venture capital transactions. Prior to joining Dominion Resources, he co-founded and served as managing partner of Brown Martin, PC, advising private corporations, non-profits and limited liability companies on organization, strategic transactions, governance and shareholder dispute issues. Brown earned his Bachelor’s of Arts and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia.
Dr. Unwanna Dabney was appointed to the Board as a Richmond City representative in October 2016. Dr. Dabney has over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry. She currently works as a Senior Manager for AECOM Technical Services, leading projects and business development initiatives for multimodal transportation planning efforts in Virginia. She has prior experience in the public and private sectors, having worked as a consultant with the Federal Highway Administration and the Virginia Department of Transportation. Her experience includes leading multidisciplinary teams and managing various transportation projects and programs in Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Dr. Dabney has a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University; Master of Public Administration from Old Dominion University; and B.S. in Civil Engineering Technology from South Carolina State University.
Jane DuFrane was elected to the Board as a Henrico representative in October 2019. She serves as Richmond Division Vice President for Highwoods Properties, a publicly traded real estate investment trust specializing in office development. In this role, she is responsible for for all aspects of the division, including the marketing and leasing, wholly-owned and third-party property management and development opportunties.
Ms. DuFrane graduated from Old Dominion University with a B.S. in Business Adminstration, Real Estate Finance. She earned the CCIM designation in 2002, the SIOR designation in 2011 and her Managing Brokers License in 2018. She is Past President of the Richmond CREW and GRACRE chapters. She is the current President of the Innsbrook Owners Association Board. She also serves on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Va. and is a board member at The Steward School.
Steve A. Elswick served two four-year terms as the Matoaca District Supervisor. He was elected as the Board’s Vice Chairman in 2013 and 2014 and the Board’s Chairman in 2015 and 2016. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Chesterfield County Shepherd’s Center.
Mr. Elswick began his service to Chesterfield County as a firefighter in July 1973. During his 31 years of faithful service and a broad variety of assignments, he gained experience and knowledge in the areas of leadership, management, and finance. Working through the ranks, ultimately he led nearly 500 highly-trained professional and volunteer fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel during the last 6 ½ years of his career as Chesterfield County’s Fire Chief.
He earned his Fire Science degree from J. Sergeant Reynolds and continued his development through The National Fire Academy, The University of Virginia Executive Leadership Institute, Leadership Metro Richmond, and The Dale Carnegie Course, where he also served as an assistant instructor.
He has been a resident of Chesterfield County for over 40 years.
Barrett Hardiman is a government relations professional with more than a decade of experience. He is Senior Government Relations Manager for Genworth Financial with responsibility for all 50 states. Previously, he served as Director of Government Affairs for Luck Companies – focusing on state and federal transportation funding and policy, economic development, and local land use issues. Mr. Hardiman has also worked for a variety of state trade associations covering diverse topics from broadcast television to home construction.
Mr. Hardiman received a B.A. from the University of Virginia with a double concentration in Economics and American Politics.
He serves as the chairperson of the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority, and previously served as the chairperson of the Transportation and Infrastructure sub-committee of the Greater Richmond Chamber’s Government Relations Committee.
Thomas Hawthorne was appointed to the RMTA Board as representative from Henrico County in 2018. Mr. Hawthorne retired from the Virginia Department of Transportation after a 38 year career where he held several field management positions including Richmond District Administrator as his final assignment. Mr. Hawthorne is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia.
Harvey Hinson was appointed to the Board as a Henrico County representative in July 2014. Hinson is retired from Henrico County after 46 of service in various positions serving the last 15 years as Deputy County Manager for Community Development. Hinson is a Rotarian and a U.S. Army veteran. His degrees include a Masters degree in Urban and Regional Planning, a BS in Urban Studies and a Certificate in Drafting and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Darius Johnson was appointed to the Board as a City of Richmond representative in July 2010. Johnson is currently the Senior Vice President and Senior Client Manager of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He was previously President of Consolidated Bank & Trust Co, where he oversaw the Central and Eastern Virginia markets of the Bank, serving as the local Commercial and Retail Banking Executive. Johnson received a BA from the University of Virginia and a MBA from the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business at University of Richmond and a graduate degree from Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania
Tyrone Nelson was appointed to the Board as a Henrico County representative in July 2014. Nelson serves on the Henrico County Board of Supervisors representing the Varina District. He is also pastor of the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond. Nelson earned an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master of Divinity in Practical Theology degree from Virginia Union University.
Lane Ramsey was appointed to the Board as a Chesterfield County representative in October 2016. Ramsey is a Managing Principal of DecideSmart, a consulting firm aiding organizations in effecting real change. Ramsey served for over 35 years in Chesterfield government, including 20 years as the County Administrator. In 1997, he received the Academy for Public Administration’s prestigious national Public Service Award. His expertise is in strategic planning and assisting entities with operational and efficiency reviews. Ramsey has a BBA in Business Administration and Management from Mars Hill University.
Gregory A. Whirley was appointed to the Board as a Chesterfield County representative in July 2014. Whirley retired from the Virginia Department of Transportation after 26 years of service progressing to the Commissioner and Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Whirley is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of Virginia State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting.
Donald C. Williams was appointed as a representative from Chesterfield County in June of 2018. He is the owner and principal of The Donald Williams Group LLC, a Richmond area-based consulting firm. Prior to founding DWG, Williams served as the Administrator of the U. S. General Services Administration’s National Capital Region and on the executive committee of the Downtown Business Improvement District in Washington, DC. He previously served as Director of the Virginia Department of General Services and has also been appointed to Gubernatorial and Presidential Transition teams. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (MCL) from the University of Richmond and a Master of Business Administration from Old Dominion University.
William L. Woodfin, Jr. was appointed to the Board as a Chesterfield County representative in July 2014. He is retired from a career in natural resources management. He holds a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Richmond and a master of science in environmental sciences and engineering from Virginia Tech.
In accordance with legislation by the Virginia General Assembly, the Authority is managed by a sixteen member Board. In addition to the Board, the organization is made up of key executive staff to manage: Engineering, Finance, Human Resources and Auditing. Executive staff has oversight of the 130 staff members of the Authority.
In 2017 Joi Taylor Dean was named CEO of the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The executive staff manages all necessary functions of the Authority including but not limited to; engineering, finance, human resources, auditing, procurement, toll collection (manual and electronic) and maintenance.
Effective July 1, 2014, the Virginia General Assembly enacted 4761-001 which renamed the RMA to the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority (RMTA) and changed the board composition. As a result, the Board of Directors governing the RMTA was increased from 11 members to 16. Five members are appointed by each jurisdiction: the mayor of the City of Richmond (with the approval of the Richmond City Council), and Boards of Supervisors of Chesterfield and Henrico Counties. Each jurisdiction may appoint one of their five members as an elected official. Additionally, one ex-officio member is appointed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Transportation Board. In addition to the 16 board members, the RMTA is assisted by a Secretary and General Counsel who takes the minutes of the meetings and provides legal assistance as needed
The Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority is an independent authority and political subdivision that was created by an act of the Virginia General Assembly in 1966. It was formed originally to build and maintain a toll expressway system to serve the Richmond metropolitan area. Although the act has been amended to authorize the RMTA to own and operate other facilities, including parking decks, coliseums and arenas, the act and the Authority’s several bond resolutions prohibit the commingling of funds of various projects. Thus, for example, tolls collected on the expressway system cannot and do not subsidize operations of other facilities. The RMTA has an 16-member board of directors. The board is comprised of five members appointed by the Richmond City Council; five appointed by Chesterfield County’s Board of Supervisors; five appointed by Henrico County’s Board of Supervisors; and one from the Commonwealth of Virginia Transportation Board.
It may appear that a toll is another form of taxation, but there is a crucial difference. Taxation cannot be avoided. A toll road can. It is an option. There are alternate routes drivers could use instead of taking a toll road. Paying a toll is a prime example of a user fee. The drivers who use the toll road pay for it. The benefit of the toll road is only the people who use it are charged to cover the expense of constructing and maintaining it.
The RMTA gets income from fees charged at its facilities. On the RMTA Expressway System, the fee is in the form of tolls. The tolls are required by law and contract with the bondholders to be sufficient to maintain and operate the expressway system and pay debt service on the outstanding bonds. The RMTA doesn’t receive tax dollars (federal, state or local) nor do we get any of the gasoline tax.
In September 2008, tolls were increased citing the ever-increasing costs of maintaining the roadway system and implementing future improvements. It is estimated that continued maintenance and capital improvements to the Expressway System for the next 10 years will reach $80 million. The Authority’s last toll increase was in 1998. Prior to 1998, the last toll increase occurred in 1988. The toll rates are certified by the RMTA’s traffic and revenue consultants after determining the amount needed to pay for operating costs, repair and contingency fund deposits, and expressway debt service. Each year, they send a certification letter. The bond indentures require the RMTA to repay a specified portion of the principal each year as well as payments on the interest. All toll increases are approved by the RMTA Board of directors.
Our bondholders lend us the money that we repay with interest. They are similar to stockholders in that they make this investment to make money.
When you borrow money to purchase an automobile, for example, the bank will hold the title as collateral. The RMTA’s collateral is the revenue we earn collecting tolls. Just like the person who borrows to buy a car or a home, the RMTA must repay the principal borrowed and interest.
The bond indenture (the contract between the RMTA and the bondholders) specifies the repayment conditions of the loan. The RMTA’s bond indentures require the Authority to maintain a cash reserve to protect the bondholders should some catastrophic event prevent the repayment of the bonds. The reserve would cover the debt service (payments) during the recovery period. Bonds are scheduled to be paid off in 2041.
The Powhite Parkway, Forest Hill Interchange, Downtown Expressway, Boulevard Bridge and all the toll machines at on- and off-ramps generated $41.0 million in fiscal year 2016. The RMTA is audited annually by a certified auditing firm.
The total expense of the Expressway System includes not just operating expenses, but also the repayment of bonds and payments into the Repair and Contingency (R&C) Fund. The bond debt is repaid with one annual payment to principal and two payments to interest.
The RMTA also maintains a reserve that was established when the bonds were issued. That money is held by the trustee and invested.
In fiscal year 2016, the RMTA conducted 62.3 million transactions on its Expressway System. The toll rates for two-axle vehicles are 70 cents for the Downtown Expressway, Powhite Parkway, and Forest Hill Interchange; 35 cents for the Boulevard and 2nd Street Ramps, 30 cents for the 11th Street Ramps, and 20 cents for the Douglasdale Road Ramps. Also, rates are higher for vehicles with more than two axles. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to multiply 62 million by 70 cents to determine annual revenue, as some have tried to do.
It is difficult to estimate a daily average since there is a dramatic difference in traffic numbers between a weekday and a weekend day. The RMTA’s expressway system is primarily a commuter route. The numbers drop significantly on the weekend.
There are a lot of factors that impact traffic: weather, summer vacation, major events with large attendance (such as a race at Richmond International Raceway) to name a few.
When accidents occur on other major commuter routes, traffic increases on the RMTA’s expressway system, as drivers use it to avoid the accident area.
Generally speaking, traffic might reach its highest on a sunny Friday in May and its lowest on an icy Tuesday in February. Traffic might boom over Labor Day weekend but be very slow Christmas Day.
The Posted Speed limit through the Open Road Tolling zones (ORT or E-ZPass Lanes) on the Downtown Expressway and Powhite Parkway is 45 mph. The Design Speed limit on any section of road is determined by various geometric features including, but not limited to the following: roadway superelevation, vertical and horizontal curve alignments, sight distance, surrounding topography, traffic weaving patterns, adjacent land use and functional classification of the roadway.
During the planning and design of the ORT zones, traffic engineering studies were performed and the roadway features analyzed. The studies determined a maximum Design Speed of 45 mph. And based on VDOT’s Road & Bridge Standard Specifications for low-speed designs of 45 mph or less, the Design Speed shall be equal to or greater than the Posted Speed. In other words, the Posted Speed can’t be greater than the Design Speed.
Therefore, to ensure public safety, roadway design utilizes roadway geometry, traffic volumes, free-flowing traffic speed and the volume of merging vehicles to dictate a maximum allowable Posted Speed limit. And in the case of the ORT zones on the Downtown Expressway and Powhite Parkway, is 45 mph.
Last Modified: 10/27/2016
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Last modified: 10/27/2016
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In congruence with the Richmond region’s Phase 1 reopening, the Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority (RMTA) will resume full-service cash collection for tolls effective 6:30 am, Monday, June 1, 2020 after temporarily closing staffed toll booths on April 3, 2020 in response to the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Executive Order. Exact change or E-ZPass were the only payment options previously. Beginning 6:30 am, Monday, June 1, 2020, cash paying drivers may again pay tolls to attendants in staffed toll booths. Full-Service lanes will close nightly at 9:00 PM. Exact change and E-ZPass lanes will remain open at all times. Additionally, access to Southbound Powhite Parkway is now open and accessible from the Powhite south cash toll plaza. The Northbound Powhite cash toll plaza will be reopened by Monday.
RMTA will continue to take every precaution to safeguard employees and the traveling public from the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring all toll attendants wear masks and gloves, and by following guidelines set forth by the State of Virginia, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health officials. Drivers who intend to use the full-service cash option are encouraged to wear face masks themselves as they travel through the toll lanes.