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The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission is co-owner of Virginia’s only commuter rail system, the highly successful Virginia Railway Express. With the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission,  NVTC provides governance and oversight of VRE directly and through its appointments to the VRE Operations Board. In 1989 the two Commissions, NVTC and PRTC, entered into the Virginia Railway Express Master Agreement which, among other things, established an Operations Board to coordinate the creation, development, and operation of the Virginia Railway Express.The Commissions’ each perform management of state and federal assistance to VRE, the support of the VRE Operations Board, and the apportionment of local contributions. The Commissions also share responsibility for regional planning of the VRE commuter rail system. NVTC and PRTC approve VRE policies, fares, major investments and legislative initiatives, authorize expenditures greater than $1,000,000 and approve the annual VRE budget and multi-year capital improvement program.

VRE operates 30 trains each weekday and provides up to 21,000 daily trips, providing significant relief in the highly congested I-66 and I-95/395 commuting corridors of Northern Virginia. 

NVTC and VRE Board Member Appointments

NVTC appoints four members of the thirteen members of the VRE Operations Board, one for each of Alexandria, Arlington, and 2 from Fairfax County, as well as three alternates. NVTC and PRTC rotate responsibility for chairing the Operations Board. The VRE Operations Board, consisting of 14 commissioners, oversees all operating aspects of the Virginia Railway Express under authority delegated by the two Commissions and consistent with the terms of the VRE Master Agreement. 

Sharon Bulova
Sharon Bulova

Sharon Bulova has served on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors since 1988 and was elected its chairman in 2009.  Mrs. Bulova is a founder of the Virginia Railway Express and has served on the VRE Operations Board since its inception in 1989.  She was appointed by former Governor Mark Warner to chair the Governor’s Commission on Rail Enhancement for the 21st Century in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which has resulted in effective partnerships for investments in rail to fund projects (both freight and passenger) that have a significant public benefit.  Mrs. Bulova was appointed by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to chair the Greater Washington 2050 Initiative, culminating in the Region Forward Compact among COG’s 21 participating jurisdictions.  She is a member of the MWCOG’s Air Quality Committee and Development Planning Committee, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

John Cook
John Cook

Treasurer

John Cook was elected to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2009 and appointed to NVTC in 2010. As a member of the Board of Supervisors he serves as the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, the Chairman of the Fairfax County – Fairfax City Inter-jurisdictional Committee, the Vice-Chair of the Board’s “50+” Committee, and as Chair of the Domestic Violence Prevention, Policy and Coordinating Council of Fairfax County. Supervisor Cook has served as the Co-chair of the joint County/School Infrastructure Finance Committee, serves on the VRE Operations Board, the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee, and is the Treasurer of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.  Supervisor Cook is the managing partner of the Fairfax law firm Cook Craig & Francuzenko.

Katie Cristol
Katie Cristol

Vice Chair

Katie Cristol was elected to the Arlington County Board in November 2015. She joined NVTC in January 2016 and represents Arlington County on the VRE Operations Board.  She was appointed to the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women by the County Board in 2012, and supported the Commission’s efforts to garner attention for critical issues like women’s professional advancement and to recognize the achievements of women in the community. Ms. Cristol is also an education policy advisor, partnering with district, states and nonprofits across the U.S. on strategic planning, resource allocation and community engagement. She holds a public policy master’s degree from Princeton University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Paul Smedberg
Paul Smedberg

Paul Smedberg was first elected to the Alexandria City Council in 2003. He was named the to the WMATA Board of Directors in January 2016. He is also a member of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Operations Board since 2005. Professionally he is Director of Advocacy & Government Affairs at the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Mr. Smedberg earned degrees in economics and history from Allegheny College and is a Fellow, Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.

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