Virginia Museum of Transportation seeks state agency status

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 8:04 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Legislation that would make the Virginia Museum of Transportation a state agency is advancing in the General Assembly.

It still has a long way to go, but museum officials and state lawmakers are hoping this will be the year the measure succeeds.

“The transportation museum is already the official transportation museum of Virginia and we want to build on that,” Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke) told WDBJ7.

Edwards introduced the legislation in the Senate. He and other supporters say the Virginia Museum of Transportation has the collection, the track record and the influence as an educational institution to justify state agency status.

Earlier this week, the bill received unanimous support in a Senate subcommittee, and again Thursday morning in the full Senate Education and Health Committee.

It doesn’t include a specific amount of state funding, but a fiscal impact statement notes similar organizations receive between $1 million and $3.5 million a year.

Tom Cox is Executive Vice President of the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

“We’re serving 25,000 to 35,000 students annually here through field trips and other on-site programs,” Cox said. “It’s time to take it up one more notch. And having state agency status will give us the gravitas necessary to move us forward.”

The next stop for Sen. Edwards’ bill is the Senate Finance Committee, which could be a more challenging hurdle.

Delegate Chris Head (R-Botetourt Co.) has introduced a similar bill in the House of Delegates, and museum’s backers are hopeful they can secure bipartisan support there as well.