Burn, Baby, Burn!

The Dec. 10, 2007, edition of the Bacon’s Rebellion e-zine is now online. Subscribe here for free to make sure you never miss an issue. Fan the flames, spread the Rebellion!

Here’s our line-up this week:
Conservation Capitalism
Want to increase energy efficiency, ward off global warming and save the plant? Then send in the capitalists. They have the creativity, resources and drive to get the job done.
by James A. Bacon

400 Years Behind
For all the resources it has expended, Virginia has made marginal progress cleaning up the Bay. The key data point: Three million more people live in the Chesapeake watershed than did 25 years ago.
by Doug Koelemay

The Estates Matrix
Estates, the organizing constructs of human society, have undergone dramatic conversions over the past 700 years. In the process, the Fourth Estate has relinquished its once-decisive role.
by EM Risse

Let the Greenway Bloom
Tolls from the Dulles Greenway are funding road improvements that government can’t afford to make, and investors are watching to see how fairly Virginia regulators treat private risk capital.
by Leonard Gilroy

Heed the Guy Who Stayed Home
Jim Gilmore has a near-lock on the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate next year. But he would be wise to listen to Chris Saxman, the up-and-comer who chose not to challenge him.
by Norm Leahy

Forget Passenger Rail
Norfolk Southern’s CEO provides clarity regarding the high cost of infrastructure and the lack of political will to pay for it. So much for the dreamy-eyed fantasies of those pricey consultants.
by Peter Galuszka

Citizen, Heal Thyself
Poor health in coalfield communities is a national disgrace. Citizens need to mobilize schools, churches and government agencies to instruct children in healthier lifestyles.
by Frank Kilgore

Nice & Curious Questions
It’s Not My Neighbor’s Water: Turning on the Tap in Virginia
by Edwin S. Clay III and Patricia Bangs

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4 responses to “Burn, Baby, Burn!”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    “they fail to realize that tolls could be lower if state and local officials were to exempt the Greenway from property taxes and get serious about addressing congestion on its feeder roads”

    This kind of “magic money” thinking drives me crazy. The tolls could be lower if the state and local officials exempt the Greenway from property taxes. But the costs covered by the monies don’t change. Lowering the tolls and increasing the property tax on others is a step AWAY from user pays, which is the whole point of toll roads.

    “Given that rush-hour traffic levels on the Greenway are constrained by choked public feeder roads at either end, toll increases become the only option to raise necessary revenues”

    And toll roads are supposed to decreases congestion and eliminate more public roadway investment how, exactly? Does this mean that we should first subsidize them by eliminating the property tax, and then subsidize them by building more of our roads in such a way to bring business to them? And then they will increase tolls anyway, since they have yet to make a profit?


  2. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    so…. you believe that public roads are being subsidized if they don’t pay property taxes?

    you can’t have it both ways.

    fess up ….

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    What is the point of having a public road pay property tax? Town hall doesn’t pay propertytax to itself.

    The point I was making is that if the tolls are lowered by eliminating the property tax (on private property, in this case) then that income to the juridiction must be made up somewhere. Lowering the tolls this way is NOT a cost savings, but shifts the costs from the users (which is the point of a toll road) to the general property taxpayers, who may not use ore even benefit much from the road.

    Public roads are different, because they are not intended to be supported by user fees. We pay for some of it with gas taxes, and other forms of fees and taxes that are user related, but we have decided NOT to collect 100% of the money that way.

    Some people think this means that those who use the roads only a little are subsidizing those that use the roads a lot. Having toll roads that are also supported through property taxes would seem to defeat the purpose.

    But, before we put all the costs on the users of the roads, we should consider who else benefits. We have decided NOT topay full costs for roadways through various user related fees for a reason. I can’t say what that is, but I would postulate that one reason is that good transportation increases the value of your property. (presumably, you will use the transportaton and pay for that benefit thrugh user fees.)

    Therefore there is no reason NOT to have some other inputs to the road funds than those from the users.

    EXCEPT if you have a toll road, where the whole initial premise is that it should be funded entirely by users.

    Now what happens if the toll road does what the railroads do. The railroads make a LOT of money by owning and leasing facilities with rail spurs. The toll road could do the same by buying up property adjacent to the toll road, adding new entrances, and leasing them out.

    Then you would have a whole new political ball of wax to sort out.


  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    no – you ARE trying to have it both ways.

    A road has the same function no matter how it is funded and administered.

    so you want to cite the loss of economic opportunity and property taxes if a road is privately operated but not if it is government operated.

    you cite that as an “additional cost” of toll roads but treated not as a cost for government roads.

    The economic loss of the right-of-way is exactly the same no matter whether it is toll or not.

    the article points out that the toll road actually pays for property taxes.

    you pay for the property taxes of government roads also but not via tolls but via higher property taxes to make up the loss of taxable property.

    “Now what happens if the toll road does what the railroads do.”

    well.. if you want to ignore the fact that the government basically gave away the land to the railroads in exchange for the railroads building the rail infrastructure…

    I’m actually in favor of granting private investors the ability to procure parcels on a willing buyer/willing seller basis in exchange for giving them the right to develop the excess parcels that result after excising the right of way.

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