Golf cart bill stalls

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Legislation that would have allowed golf carts on some Town of Smithfield roads didn’t move forward in the General Assembly this year.

House Bill 1752 would have allowed golf carts to travel on roads with speed limits up to 35 miles per hour within the town’s limits. Right now, state law only allows golf carts on roads where the speed limit is 25 mph or less, and the vehicles are not allowed to cross a road where the speed limit is 35 mph or higher.

State Del. Emily Brewer, a Republican whose 64th District includes Isle of Wight County, introduced the legislation at the town’s request. The intent was to expand access to downtown from the Cypress Creek and Moonefield neighborhoods, with the goal of boosting meals and sales tax revenue.

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Brewer’s bill would have allowed golf carts to cross any highway within Smithfield’s town limits, regardless of the posted speed limit, so long as the Virginia Department of Transportation conducted a review in accordance with existing guidelines to determine appropriate locations for golf cart crossings, and subsequently posted signage to identify crossings as appropriate.

According to the General Assembly’s online Legislative Information System, HB 1752 was left in the House Transportation Motor Vehicle Subcommittee Feb. 5 following a 6-4 vote in January to lay the bill on the table.

“I brought House Bill 1752 at the request of the Town of Smithfield. VDOT expressed some traffic safety questions, so I will be working with both stakeholders to work towards a safe solution for all,” Brewer said in an email.

According to a fiscal impact statement, “the signage to be installed at each crossing by VDOT would cost approximately $2,000 ($1,000 per sign in each travel direction). The number of crossings where signs may be needed is unknown, therefore the total cost is indeterminate.”