Bill Bolling on Transportation

Rarely have I seen a public official hit so many of the right notes regarding transportation in such a short space. In an e-mail summarizing the General Assembly’s budgetary accomplishments, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling says the following:

While I fully support efforts to make a significant ongoing investment in transportation, I remained convinced that we can do this without raising taxes. With Virginia’s economy continuing to grow at a very rapid rate, we can increase funding for transportation without raising taxes if we are prepared to direct our resources to our highest priorities.

There may be other acceptable ways to provide additional funding for critical transportation projects, such as the use of tolls to help pay for projects that are constructed through the Public Private Transportation Act. However, I do not see any appetite at the legislative level for higher taxes.

As the debate over building a transportation system for the 21st century continues, we must also remember two other important areas – improving efficiency within the Virginia Department of Transportation and doing a better job linking land use planning and transportation planning at the local level.

This doesn’t cover every Bacon’s Rebellion priority — fundamental land use reform requires more than “linking” land use and transportation planning — but it’s about as good as it gets from an elected official. No new taxes (at least not now)… a user-pays system (tolls) for financing major new construction… improving efficiency at VDOT… and linking land use and transportation planning…

It’s a start.

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3 responses to “Bill Bolling on Transportation”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    We already have a user pays system: it is called the gas tax.

    User tolls will be less fair, not geared to energy usage aor weight, and they will be, in fact, a new tax with a new bureaucracy to support it.

    I’m sorry, but this strikes me as dumb as it gets: it is anti-conservation, geographically non uniform, does not relate to costs incurred, adds profit to the cost of roads, and then (likely) sends the profit overseas.


  2. NoVA Scout Avatar
    NoVA Scout

    I guess if the standard is a relative one of “as good as it gets for an elected official in Virginia” perhaps there’s something notable here, but it falls way short of the usual Bacon’s Rebellion commentary on these issues. I’m hard put to figure out why the generalities of Bolling’s statement strike anyone as impressive (other than by the above-quoted standard). Bolling did not endear himself to a lot of people in HR and NoVA in last year’s GOP primary campaign when he described regional traffic congestion as a “mirage” generated to support efforts to impose new taxes. I keep getting stuck in those mirages and I am not a particularly car-oriented guy. I’m sure that the cumulative negative economic effects of these illusions has nothing at all mirage-like impact on the economic health of Virginia. If Bolling has had some sort of catharsis on this and now is saying that these are real issues, I guess that’s progress.

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: tolls/ gas tax

    The gas tax is not being repealed but the clear reality is that even if it is increased – it will not bring in more money because the higher the price of gasoline – the less people will drive and the more efficient autos they will buy. This is not conjecture but reality – and it’s being played out in states across the nation including Virginia.

    Lawmakers know that raising the gas tax will not only not bring in significant new revenues but it will make gasoline even more expensive and they will get blamed for it – and rightly so.

    Contrary to claims, TOLLs CAN be assessed to take into account WEIGHT and fuel efficiency with electronic tolling – automatically by encoding that info on the transponder when it is purchased. All they have to do is capture the make/model of your vehicle when you purchase the transponder – something they already do.

    There is virtually no bureacracy .. you can buy transponders online without ever talking to a human.

    TOLLs ARE, in fact, geographically oriented to areas that need road road improvements that they’re not going to get – without tolls.

    Read the Battlefield Bypass article. … “lines on a map”. That perfectly describes the situation of almost every road being planned in Virginia unless something is done.

    And it DOES help conservation because it assigns higher costs to those that consume more and especially those that comsume more at peak hour – when air quality is most seriously compromised.

    TOLLs may not be the perfect panacea for all situations but it gives us the ability of getting roads built when and where they are needed.

    The ranking and prioritization that VDOT apparently cannot do – is done automatically by the private entity that builds a toll road – because they are not going to build it unless there is sufficient demand for it.

    As far sending money overseas… RAY .. that is EXACTLY what you do when you buy gasoline. 🙂

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