Disingenuous Daily Press

Today’s Daily Press (Sunday Feb. 18, 2007) reports the following about the Transportation plans in the General Assembly:

“That plan also proposed a variety of fee increases and set up regional funding approaches for Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.”

Actually, the ‘regional approaches’ are called a ‘political sub-division of the Commonwealth’ in the bills – or in english – a regional government. Regional government not a regional funding approach.

The fee increases and funding approaches are called taxes. Taxes. New taxes and increased taxes.

Why would the Daily Press not use clear words – like unelected, unaccountable, unseparated powers Regional Government? Or, let the readers know the Regional Government is almost precisely the same wording as the one they rejected 2:1 across Hampton Roads in 2002? (And across the Commonwealth in rejecting a Constitutional amendment in 1998?)

Or, mention that the projects INCREASE the congested miles across Hampton Roads?

Or, that miles driven in Hampton Roads has flat-lined since 2003?

Does this shaded speech, and omitted facts, have anything to do with the declining subscriptions to the Daily Press?

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29 responses to “Disingenuous Daily Press”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Portland, Oregon has an elected
    regional government that deals with
    growth and transportation issues.

    Virginia has a multitude of small
    political subdivisions that do
    not function well in dealing with
    such issues in metropolitan Hampton Roads now
    home to 1.5+
    million residents, similar
    to the population in Portland.

    The writer of this posting is taking broad
    swipes at the world
    and offering his part of the state
    few constructive suggestions for
    finding solutions to their complex

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    And the regional funding for Hampton Roads alone is $209m in the first year – and it will grow. That isn’t mentioned all the time.

    Nor, the simple economic fact that taxes kill jobs. $150m in taxes = 5000 jobs lost – working poor first.
    Of course that is if you accept capitalist economic theory, not Marxist economic theology.

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: I’ve written about answers elsewhere – sorry the post wasn’t pages longer.

    You can improve the 460 corridor, route a 3rd crossing to that corridor from the Port of Virginia and add tubes and bridges to Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel WITHOUT creating a regional government.

    All the bridges, tunnels and interstates we have today were build without a regional government or regional taxation – (without representation no less).

    You have to set funding priorities. That takes leadership.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Mr. Bowden, the 1998 constitutional amendments had nothing to do with regional governments but that was the way the Gilmore administration chose to portray them by forcing the description on the Board of Elections. I was there when it happened. Also, Mark Early voted for both of them.

    One amendments allowed localities to establish joint boards in order to have revenue-sharing from an industrial park that crossed jurisdictional boundaries. I was there when the legislative committee approved that one.

  5. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: If you were there when the legislative committee passed the amendment you should have changed the wording. The amendment allowed the formation of regional governments with taxing authority. All Virginia voted on it and rejected it. Almost 4:1 in my town.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Aren’t there ALREADY existing Regional Authorities for Transportation in both NoVa and HR/TW and isn’t the languge in this years bills about enabling the levying of new/additional taxes within those regions to produce more funding for transportation.

    JAB makes what I perceive to be contradictory comments.

    Opposed to additional Regional taxes he says it is “ok” to in his words: “You can improve the 460 corridor, route a 3rd crossing to that corridor from the Port of Virginia and add tubes and bridges to Hampton Roads Bridge tunnel WITHOUT creating a regional government.”

    The question is – WHERE will the money come from to do the things that JAB says are “ok” if he is opposed to that money being raised in HR/TW.

    Does it mean that his statement: “the simple economic fact that taxes kill jobs. $150m in taxes = 5000 jobs lost – working poor first” does NOT apply to taxpayers statewide who would be taxed to pay for transportation facilities in TW/HR?

    What I see is an offer from the GA to let HR/TW figure out how to self-fund the transportation improvements that are important to THEIR region. To control their own destiny with regard to taxation AND what might be built with such taxes.

    What I don’t understand is that it appears to me that he is opposed to more taxes at the Regional level but he is essentially ok with RoVa being taxed at higher levels to build HR/TW facilities.

    Perhaps I’m wrong.

    Perhaps what the advocacy is – to oppose ALL tax increases whether regionally or statewide

    but then… is that advocacy ..also .. essentially that HR/RW need no additional transportation improvements?

    What is the truth here?

    What does JAB SUPPORT for the TW/HR region in terms of new facilities and how they might be funded?

  7. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Right now – I see JAB (Bowden) and Rodger (Provo) in the same point but you’d never know from their words.

    Both APPEAR to favor more transportation facilities for their respective regions – paid for not by the folks in those regions but RoVa.

    What the GA is offering… is the ability to develop new revenue sources (via fees and taxes) so that NoVa/HR can better control their own destiny with regard to transportation – but the folks in those regions would also have to pay for those improvements.

    What I think I hear is “NO REGIONAL TAXES .. but we do want the improvements – but let RoVa pay for them.

    Am I wrong?

  8. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    The state’s 7.5 million residents,
    businesses, tourists and
    travelers and truckers
    using our highways to
    traverse Virginia on their
    route to other points
    should all share in the responsibility to fund our transportation needs.

    When my wife and I travel to Radford to visit our son and his
    family, we use the state highway

    The notion we should “Balkanize”
    our highway system makes no sense.

    The reason the General Assembly is
    proposing two regional authorities
    with taxing capability is to insure
    that new revenue generated by the
    state’s two largest, well heeled
    metropolitan areas will
    stay in those communities to solve their
    transportation needs.

    That concept should not preclude
    a continued statewide effort to
    better manage our growth and
    transportation system.

    p.s. All major daily newspapers in
    the United States are facing
    a decline in readership for
    the internet, cable tv and
    news radio stations are now
    major sources of news for our

  9. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    “Am I worng?”


    As to “I was there” for HB 1474 – regional economic development “revenue sharing” – the best thing Gov. Gilmore did was to veto that mess – read his reason WHY – it reveals exactly WHY these regional authorities are bad government.

    And Mr. Bowden is correct – we have built many highways and bridge tunnels without a regional authority.

    Many were paid for by those that used them – they paid tolls – and when the project was paid off – the tolls went away. For example, the HRBT was paid for using a toll.

  10. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “Many were paid for by those that used them – they paid tolls – and when the project was paid off – the tolls went away.”

    an aside.. “who pays to maintain them now”?

    First we’re not talking about NOT taxing RoVa. (balkanize)

    Each locality/Region should pay:

    1. – their share of legitimate statewide roads that “connect” the State across communities and regions but also acknowledge that out of state folks do not pay at all.

    2. – localiteis should determine for their own local area what kind of local/regional facilities are needed and how they would like to pay for them.

    What we are saying is wrongheaded and just plain silly, no – bogus ;

    The concept that folks in Charlottesville will pay for Hampton Roads – roads and that folks in Hampton Roads will pay for Charlottesville roads and that the way to do this is to have all localities kick money into a fund that will then be reallocated back to the localities for their needs is dumb on it’s face.

    It’s basically a pretense for robbing from one area to benefit another….

    This process is why VDOT is broke.

    Every locality expected either to get more back than they paid in or in the case of NoVa and HR/TW get back AT LEAST what they paid in and VDOT was more than happy to create a piece of paper that had absolutely no connection to truth and reality… just words that localities foolishing believed.

    For all the furor over the evils of Regional Authorities – NONE of the complaintants in this BLOg acknowledge that when an unelected and unaccountable VDOT beaurecrat in Richmond – essentially allocates more money to a locality than they contributed that this is even worse than the claim that Regional Authorities, while not giving away their money to other localities are.. NOT spending it properly – either (in their mind).

    With VDOT – we have BOTH problems.

    They do not allocate equitably AND they do not spend it on Congestion Relief.

    Pray – tell me .. HR/TW folks how VDOT is BETTER than your own Regional Authority.

    Rodger – tell me why the folks in Fredericksburg should expect RoVa to pay for their regional needs.

  11. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry, why don’t determine the amount of traffic on I-95, Rt. 1,
    Rt. 3, Rt. 17 and Rt. 301 that is
    generated from sourcres outside of
    PDC 16.

    You would have your neighbors share the financial burden for traffic on these roads such as:

    -truck traffic traveling up and
    down the East Coast on I-95 or
    to the Deep South on I-85 or
    heading to the Hampton Roads
    ports on I-64;

    -beach traffic traveling on these
    roads in the summer to Virginia
    Beach and the Outer Banks;

    -and a host of other traffic from
    outside your community.

    I think you concept about how
    we should fund our transportation
    needs is really silly. Cheers!!!!

  12. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Rodger – you’re essentially calling JLARC “silly” because what I advocate is almost exactly what they have recommended.

    If you don’t know who JLARC is – I can send you to a good site.

    If you don’t know about their recommendations – I can do that also.

    The only difference between my recommendations and JLARCs is that I feel that we should be electronically tolling our major interstates to capture revenue from out-of-state users

    and I believe that we should be using congestion pricing in our major urban areas – to not only collect revenues but to manage congestion.

    It’s the folks .. like yourself that are blindly holding onto a failed VDOT finanical model that are actually standing in the way of moving forward – because people in Va are not going to pay higher taxes to continue the Status Quo.

  13. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    We have under funded our transportation needs for more
    than two decades.

    We all are going to have to pay
    extra fees, taxes and/or tolls to
    improve our system.

    Many of us would trade that cost
    for relief from traffic jams that
    are wasting our time, fuel and
    damaging the environment because
    of the extra emissions from vehicles sitting on the Falmouth
    Bridge, for example.

    Larry, you place no value on such
    losses by your neighbors nor do
    you care about the decline in our
    quality of life because of these

    I do think your position is silly.

  14. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Roger – I place GREAT value on losses and if nothing else I care deeply about the loss of quality of life and degradation of transportation facilities

    what I reject is failed concepts or in the parlance of some – sustainability.

    Rodger – if you would take the time to read the JLARC report before you hurl the “undeduated/uncaring” label – you might become a little more educated yourself.

    Take the time guy to educate yourself by reading the JLARC report that outlines the problems and makes recommendations to move us forward.

    These are the same recommendations that I support.

    And they do very much place a high value on the importance of transportation – as I do.

    take some time.. to read.. then come back…and discuss…

    geesh Rodger..if you can take the time to read about Portland and Envision Utah.. SURELY you’d want to read directly about what Virginia’s own CBO office has to say about our own issues.

  15. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry, some of the best growth
    management, land planning and
    transportation concepts are in
    the western United States and
    northwestern Canada.

    Please don’t take me to the woodshed for extolling the vitures of those efforts.

    Virginia’s record in this field,
    except for Arlington, Alexandria,
    Charlottesville-Albermarle County,
    Williamsburg-James City County and
    Norfolk, is poor.

    Our state government has provided little or no leadership in this
    field except the efforts by former
    GOP Gov. Mills E. Godwin, during
    his first term more than 30 years

    Nor do I see the state government
    rising to this challenge in the near term, for the political climate is such that the D’s and
    the R’s are more interested in
    sticking to each other than helping
    us better manage our future growth
    and build a more creative, sustainable transportation system.

    I would also suggest the conservative commentators on this
    blog with their anti-government,
    anti-tax agenda have the same

  16. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Rodger – until I see you go to JLARC and read their analysis and then come back and give us your views with respect to what JLARC says – good, bad or ugly but SOME thoughts of your own beyond rah rah cheerleading for other states efforts… then I really don’t think you are serious but rather in the “diss others” mode.

  17. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Larry – I got involved in this
    discussion because you took the
    liberty in an earlier posting to
    state a position for me that I
    felt needed a response.

    “Rah rah cheerleading for other states” and “diss others mode” nor your JLARC challenge is worthy of a response.

    There is habit on this blog for you
    and others to repeat over and over
    again various positions and views
    you hold of Virginia … one could
    spend for ever trying to spar with
    you and others with little benefit
    or success.

  18. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    Many of us would trade that cost
    for relief from traffic jams that
    are wasting our time, fuel and
    damaging the environment because
    of the extra emissions from vehicles sitting on the Falmouth
    Bridge, for example.

    Too bad there isn’t anything in the Senate and House bills now being debated in Richmond for TW/HR that actually reduce traffic congestion ….

  19. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    “Many were paid for by those that used them – they paid tolls – and when the project was paid off – the tolls went away.”

    Q: an aside.. “who pays to maintain them now”?

    We do – they are maintained by VDOT – we pay 22% of VDOT’s funding here in our region.

    TW/HR is a “donor” region as far as VDOT is concerned.

  20. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    “The tolls go away.” It’s my undertanding that the proponents of the Dulles Toll Road originally promised or strongly suggested that the tolls would be eliminated once the DTR’s bonds were paid. Now, however, we see the Commonwealth, with the support of Fairfax County, retaining and increasing the tolls to pay for the Silver Line, which provides no traffic relief for DTR users (or anyone else, for that matter.)

    Just one more reason why so many Virginians distrust state and local government on transportation/land use issues

  21. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    With respect to TW/HR, is the answer to new infrastructure more TOLLs?

    I wonder how much might have been accumulated towards 460 and other infrastructure had the TOLLs just stayed in place.

    Again.. I see distrust for government as engending opposition to new taxes AND to TOLLs.

    Rodger wants more money – period.

    Others in this BLOG seem to be okay with no money for VDOT and no TOLLs either… essentially nothing more for infrastructure at all.


  22. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    No new money for VDOT?

    1. VDOT needs to be abolished and a new, better transportation mobility organization created to do the job VDOT failed to do.

    2. More money? On a case-by-case basis for new projects, develop new funding strategies for the projects. Handing out billions in blank checks has failed to produce the trransportation system we paid for – and failed to result in sufficient maintenance of many highways and bridges.

    3. Transportation is a state priority. treat it as such. Abolish the TTF and place Transportation into the General Fund mix. The state has reaped HUGE GROWTH in taxes – and thus HUGE SPENDING INCREASES – we aren’t facing a lack of taxation – we are facing a failure to SPEND THE TAX MONEY wisely and were it is most needed. There always seems to be “funds avaialble” to fund crap like wooden schooners or new, vote-buying day care for “low income workers” marketed as “pre-school” – but then suddenly we are “froced” to raise taxes to pay for essentials like new lane capacity??? It is a scam.

    4. A combination of tolls and TIFs can go a long way to pay for new roads or new lane capacity or fixed rail infrastructure. Take the proposed new RT 460 highway between Chesapeake and Petersburg VA. Draw a 5 mile parameter on both sides of the new road – establish a TIF district. Set up a RT 460 Corridor Authority. It’s sole function is limited to managing the completion of the new highway along the RT 460 corridor. Within the new RT 460 Corridor property values will increase due to the new highway. Use that increase in property values to pay off the new highway – and place a toll on the highway too. Once the bonds are paid off and the highway is completed, use a portion of the real estate tax increases to fund ongoing maintenance – remove the toll if the maintenance budget can afford it. Or, keep the toll, but rebate LOCALS using the highway and charge out of state drivers to use the new highway.

  23. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Okay – I think I have it.

    1. – No more money for Regional Authorities including the MPO until they are elected directly

    2. – No more money for VDOT – until they totally reform or hell freezes over.. whatever comes first .. right?

    3. – 1+2 = no new money…for anyone until the system changes..

    did I pass?

  24. E M Risse Avatar


    You get a perfect score and it is a good thing no money will be available soon due to the following:

    Mr. Greenmun’s four point plan.

    These are all ideas worthy of considering from a transportation perspective.

    The problem is that mobility and access is a settlement pattern issue and only one aspect is the specific transport facilities.

    There are 384,000 acres in the Greenmun / 460 Corridor.

    At minimum sustainable densities (especially since it is long a narrow) that is space for a minimum of 3.8 million citizens including their jobs, housing, services, recreation and amenity.

    How one allocates the use of the 384,000 acres dictates whether anyone will ever be able to drive (or haul a container from the Port of Hampton Roads to Richmond) on a roadway, regardless of width.

    The State of Texas has thousands of miles of real-world, at-scale roadways to demonstrate this reality.


  25. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    ” REL=”nofollow”>SPSA
    Why regional authorities are DOA in Tidewater.

  26. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I agree. This is a huge problem.

    I don’t think EVERY Regional Authority is corrupt and out of control.

    Many function as they should.

    Many do not.

    The Feds DID try with the MPOs. The rules require substantial citizen involvement – as long as citizens assert themselves – which in most cases they do not.

    The average person resents being given the choise of either going to meetings.. looking at information.. and generally keeping tabs on such authorities

    or .. face the prospect that the authority will abuse it’s authority and squander taxpayer monies.

    Most folks expect government to NOT be corrupt and untrustworthy and when it turn out that it cannot be trusted – then the option that citizens want – is to de-fang and disembowl…. the authority – to starve it out of existence.

    As long as citizens have the right of referenda for funding – this can happen.

    But some authorities do not operate this way.

    MPOs do not.

    MPOs are going to allocate monies that taxpayers cannot stop the flow of.

    For instance, the Fed Gas tax is allocated back to the States – which in turn allocate them out to the Regional MPOs – mostly for new construction since the State Gas tax is used mostly for maintenance.

    The only way to “get” to the MPOs is to mount a citizen challenge to the TIP and CLRP.

    This can happen.

    Locally, in Fredericksburg – Stafford was proposing to use Congestion Mitigation funds for a New road to VRE – whose parking lot was ALREADY maxed. The new road was for development.

    A citizen challenged the decision on the basis that congestion mitigation money was being used for wrong purposes – and suprise, suprise – She won!

    I think the moral to this story is that most citizens want a governmnent that functions like a themostrat – set it and forget it -and that is the perfect environment for those who seek to use government for their own interests.

    Loudoun is a perfect example – as well as the link that was provided to the Waste Management Authority where the top dogs were charging $500 dinners while the authority itself is in deep financial trouble.

  27. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    EMR – my proposal moves new multimodal containers in and out of the Port of HR using RAIL, not trucks. This not only prevents further exacerbation of our region’s over congested highway infrastructure (ring/loop), it reduces air pollution Noxious Oxide) emissions near our DEQ air sampling collectors – thus helping our region to stave off Federal non-attainment status as a direct result of the current plan to dump upwards of 5,000 additional highly polluting TRUCKS to our region’s existing high density urban core.

    My better plan includes a new in-land port constructed at FT Lee, to move shipping containers onto trucks headed off along I-95 and I-85 directly. The freight RAIL lines would run parallel to the new High Speed Passenger RAIL lines, alongside the new RT 460 highway. Grade level crossings between surface roads and rail lines would be elevated such that surface level traffic would avoid rail traffic, and thus, avoid both increased traffic congestion and potential for train-ground vehicle collisions.

    The existing in-land port at FT Royal is not as well located to serve the port of HR – and for alignment with the state’s strategic development vision for the RT 460 corridor between TW/HR and Petersburg. The “new RT 460” is being heralded as an alternative route for access to the Virginia Beach oceanfront, via a direct connection from RT 64 to the planned new Southeastern Greenbelt and Parkway. This new route will enable tourists to bypass the old RT 64 access from Richmond, through the HRBT bottleneck, and into Virginia Beach along the RT 64 to RT 264 highway system.

  28. E M Risse Avatar

    Mr. Greenmun:

    I did not see anything about rail in your prior post.

    Rail is good.

    Regional rail to truck transfer points are good. We need one for every Region and in big Regions, one for each subregion.

    Interregional truck freight is a terrible waste and would go away if the full costs were charged.

    You still have 384,000 acres of land that you assume the value will increas on “due to the new highway.”

    What will it be used for?, in what configuration?, who decides?

    Good start, keep going but be sure that both Hampton Roads New Urban Region and Richmond New Urban Region move toward Balance.


  29. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Been on travel again.

    Reid answered the question for on whaddya gonna do.

    I would add that new tube and bridge on the Hampton Roads crossing would be worth the tolls and other money from the Trans Trust Fund and General Fund.

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