RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond city leaders plan to stand up and fight back- for control over the Downtown Expressway. A bill going through the General Assembly this year would strip the city of three seats on the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, giving Chesterfield and Henrico more of a voice.
Four decades of city dominance on the Richmond Metropolitan Authority are being threatened in the General Assembly.
Delegate Manoli Loupassi - a former president of the Richmond City Council- introduced a bill this month to essentially equalize the RMA board. Taking Richmond from 6 to 3 seats and bumping up Chesterfield and Henrico from two to three each.
Delegate Loupassi has said in the past- the change would make it easier for the region to work together on projects- like building a new baseball Diamond. But the bill is taking its toll on Richmond city leaders.
They met Friday to hash out their next move:
"We need to first protect our asset. And that road is our asset and that road comes back to us," Richmond City Council President Kathy Graziano.
It was the city's sweat- property and money that built the expressway. The road is due to revert back to city control in 2041.
The mayor told the group- the city paid a high price and that shouldn't be forgotten.
"We have money on the table. We have an asset on the table. And there are a lot of people who don't really want to pay attention to that," Mayor Dwight Jones said.
Major Jones said Friday- it's up to the city to stand up and make sure it doesn't lose out.
"And at the end of the day we don't have anything or at least nothing that our grand children will even see," he added.
Richmond city leaders decided today to lobby members of House and Senate committees. Mayor Dwight Jones and City Council President Kathy Graziano also plan to meet with Delegate Loupassi.
You'll recall- last year, the city agreed to take 62 million in money. It's owed, from the original loan, to establish the RMA, in 1966.