A Diamond in the Sand

The Senate’s START Committee, a large group of senators and citizens charged with writing a transportation bill for 2006, met yesterday with far less fanfare than its first meeting. In the presentations, little new ground got plowed. The next meeting promises to be more interesting, as the group will start its own discussions, working with a professional facilitator.

But when I went to the Senate Finance Committee website for all the documents, I found a diamond in the sand, something that had not been discussed in the meeting. The list included a 9-page letter from Phil Shucet, the former Transportation Commissioner who has instantly become one of the leaders in this effort now that he is out of state government and able to speak frankly. You can find the letter on that list under “Shucet Letter” or by clicking here.

Shucet’s suggestions range from outsourcing more maintenance to demand management techniques to, yes, building more roads — and he seems to be leaning toward the tolling proposal of former Governor Baliles as the main source of funds for construction.

You too can write your own plan for this group to consider, but you have to hurry. The staff has issued a general call for proposals, idea, discussions, and has set up a special email address, start@leg.state.va.us to receive them. They want them by Halloween. They ask for a one-page summary and a limit of four pages on discussion. Shucet’s is longer, but worth every page.


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