Land Use: Down the T-D Memory Hole

I ran into Jeff Schapiro at a cocktail party last night and had a long, entertaining chat. Jeff, with whom I worked at Virginia Business magazine some 20 years ago before he joined the political staff at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is truly one of the great conversationalists of all time. He’s smart, engaging and well informed. Our discussions ranged from payday lending to two-term governors. Jeff has keen insight into the workings of the state capitol, and he may be the savviest reporter in the capitol press corps.

That’s why it baffled me this morning to see the article that he and Michael Hardy had composed for the T-D‘s pre-General Assembly coverage. Once again, the duo highlighted the looming transportation battle as a purely fiscal duel with potential political consequences.

A fiscal fix for roads and rail loom largest for Republicans in the traffic-clogged Washington suburbs, bulwark of the new Democratic ascendancy. … Democrats are salivating over the prospect of another year of legislative gridlock over transportation, believing it could tip the Virginia Senate their way as well as increase their numbers in the House.

As Bacon’s Rebellion readers are keenly aware, the House of Delegates has proposed a three-pronged package of reforms that, whatever you think of its merits, would amount to the most far-reaching overhaul of zoning law and reallocation of state/local responsibility for roads in a half century. The House leaders are not automotons mouthing, “No new taxes.” They argue that any comprehensive plan to fix transportation requires more than money, and that land use reforms must be part of any transportation solution.

Has someone on the T-D copy desk banned the words “land use,” perhaps? The words did not appear anywhere in the Hardy-Schapiro story today. Nor did they show up in a lengthy companion piece by Olympia Meola about local government legislative priorities. (Imagine: a story about local government priorities without mentioning the movement to transform the way zoning works!) Nor did “land use” make into in a list of “other proposals” prepared by Pamela Stallsmith. I will say this at least: The T-D reporters weren’t displaying partisan bias. Not only did they act as if the House bills didn’t exist, they ignored Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s controversial proposal to give local governments more power to reject rezoning projects that would make traffic congestion worse.

The T-D legislative wrap-up touched upon tough-on-crime bills, payday lending, the Kelo decision, Chesapeake Bay clean-up, abortion, divorce, adultery, shoplifting, electric rates and even a bill to designate the ginger gold apple the official state fruit. But the bills that would transform the way local governments management growth — nada.

Contrast the T-D coverage with the Washington Post’s. Michael Shear dedicated his entire pre-General Assembly take-out to the growth management debate.

Rapid growth has become entangled in the bitter legislative debate over the state’s traffic problem. And lawmakers fear Virginians will punish anyone who refuses to vote to slow sprawl during the 2007 General Assembly session, which begins Wednesday.

… The result is a slew of legislation from Republicans and Democrats, including House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), aimed at reducing traffic congestion by better managing growth.

Now, I’ll admit that the transportation/land use issue is more all-consuming in the WaPo circulation area than it is in the T-D’s. But it’s impossible to understand the legislative dynamics of the 2007 General Assembly session without at least acknowledging that the growth management debate in Northern Virginia and, to a lesser degree, Hampton Roads is driving the transportation debate.


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33 responses to “Land Use: Down the T-D Memory Hole”

  1. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Dear Jim Bacon:

    The conflict in the GA is a fiscal fight — debt vs cash
    to fund our transportation needs. Debt means in a down
    turn in the economy other programs paid for by the general
    fund would be at risk for money would be needed to service
    the BH debt package. The HoD package does not meet our
    needs. It will help five or six small to medium size
    regions in the state. Some of the proposals will force
    development further out to meet our housing needs. Job
    growth, low unemployment will continue to drive the market
    demands. You are wrong, wrong, wrong about these issues!

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Anonymous, I’ve never denied that there was a fiscal element to the transportation debate. (See the column I publish in the e-zine tomorrow.)

    You can argue the pros and cons of the House legislative package. (I haven’t totally made up my mind about them.) But you can’t argue that they exist! The purpose of my post was not to defend the House proposals but to criticize the Times-Dispatch for shoving them down the memory hole.

  3. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Unfortunately, the TD’s political coverage has become as dumbed down as the rest of the newspaper. Failing to link land use to transportation is but one of many lapses of “Virginia’s News Leader” in providing in-depth, meaningful coverage to its readers. Its role should be even more vital since it is the capital city newspaper, but under the Silvestri-Proctor regime, you are likely to get fluff about celebrities, two-bit murders and (“Gasp”) truly penetrating news that today’s teenagers can use cell phones and instant messaging to find empty homes to drink beer.
    Silvestri in particular doesn’t get it. He seems to think that his duty to inform the public goes no farther than this idiotic “Oprah”-style town meetings he holds, microphone in hand, to show us that he’s a real hands-on, shirtsleeves kind of publisher. And, rather than truly inform us, he burdens us with stupid, self-congratulatory in-house ads about the mid-level bureaucracy he’s hired for the paper and the fact that his circulation manager loves Jesus.
    That’s why the only time you might learn something about politics from the TD is when you happen upon one of their political reporters at a cocktail party. To actually find out what’s going on in print, one must go to the Post or the Pilot or even “Bacons Rebellion.”
    The best thing that can happen to the TD is if some other group buys Media General and starts a real housecleaning, starting with Silvestri. One can only hope.

  4. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Jim Bacon:

    Richmond has less problems with our transportation
    system than Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.

    Your home has built numerous roads over the last
    30 years to handle the moderate levels of growth
    in the Richmond-Petersburg Metropolitan Area. It
    benefits from having two major cross state inter-
    states (I-95, I-64) and AMTRAK service from the
    east out of Newport News north and from the south
    out of Florida north. Nor is the population nearly
    as large as the states two largest metropolitan
    areas. Finally, it does not have the major river,
    Chesapeake Bay crossing, etc. required in both of
    those other two regions.

    Your local newspaper’s stories reflect these facts.

    A Friend

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Is it my imagination or is there quite a bit of style similarity of the posts that have been “signed” lately?

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    No Matter.

    In The Fredericksburg Free Lance Star this morning … in the print edition .. and not on their web page (but buried deep) is this commentary by HD Republican Conservative Mark Cole. He makes some interesting arguments:

    “Virginia spends billions on roads; now we need reform
    January 7, 2007 12:50 am

    ON WEDNESDAY, the General Assembly will begin its 2007 session. Once again, transportation will be the focus of most lawmakers–and media reports.

    As is often the case, reports that gather the most attention are those highlighting conflict. As anyone who has been following news from Richmond knows, there are fundamental disagreements over how to approach Virginia’s transportation challenges.

    The intensity of the debate might lead the casual observer to believe that nothing has been accomplished to address our transportation problems. However, a closer examination of the facts says otherwise.

    In addition to advancing needed transportation reforms, the General Assembly has increased transportation funding by 50 percent since 2004!

    The 2003-2004 Biennial Budget included $6.3 billion in transportation funding–a total eclipsed only by education spending.

    The 2005-2006 budget increased transportation spending to $8.1 billion, a 27 percent increase over the previous budget–far outstripping the rate of population growth and inflation.

    With the commonwealth running a record budget surplus in 2005, the House of Delegates designated the largest chunk of those revenues to transportation, passing a budget that included more than $1 billion in additional funding for critical transportation projects. Although negotiations with the Senate whittled down the amount to $850 million, the total nonetheless amounted to the largest increase in transportation funding since 1986.

    During the passage of the current 2007-2008 Biennial Budget, most of the press focused on the rejection by the House of Delegates of the governor’s and Senate’s proposals to raise taxes by more than $1 billion.

    While the House stood firm against the tax increase (keep in mind that state taxes had been raised a record amount just two years prior), the budget that was ultimately approved included more than $9.5 billion for transportation–another record level of transportation spending.

    Clearly the House had not “obstructed” increased transportation funding; the only thing House Republicans obstructed was another tax increase!

    Consider for a moment what that $9.5 billion represents. It is 50 percent higher than the funding allocated for transportation for the 2003-2004 Biennial Budget. In short, for every dollar Virginia designated toward improving our roads, railways, and public transit in 2004, we are now budgeting $1.50, the bulk of which is ongoing, dedicated funding.

    That increase is staggering, and the total allotted will hopefully be increased by the time this General Assembly adjourns.

    Despite these huge funding increases, we seem to keep losing ground when it comes to transportation–which makes a strong case for the need to reform our transportation system and processes.

    Before Gov. Kaine introduced his proposed budget amendments in December, House Republicans announced their intention to allocate at the very least a minimum of 50 percent of the current surplus to transportation. If this proposal is agreed to by the Senate, the record $9.5 billion dollars for transportation will be increased even further.

    The governor also has embraced bonding as a financing tool for capital projects, and will hopefully join the House in its bipartisan approach of employing bonds to help build transportation projects faster and cheaper.

    A comprehensive approach
    As House Republicans pointed out repeatedly during 2006, Virginia’s transportation challenges cannot be addressed solely by focusing on spending. A truly comprehensive approach includes reforming the way VDOT delivers transportation services, advancing innovative measures to curtail sprawl, and securing the Transportation Trust Fund through an amendment to Virginia’s Constitution.

    All of these changes are essential elements to fully addressing our challenges.

    While more needs to be done, we have made progress in these areas. The General Assembly has approved essential reforms to improve VDOT’s responsiveness and accountability, making the agency an improved steward of taxpayer funds.

    However, room for greater improvement is evident to any Virginia commuter.

    While the Warner and Kaine administrations have chosen to focus on VDOT’s ability to finish projects “on time and on budget,” that measure only addresses a small portion of the problem. House Republicans will continue to concentrate their efforts in the 2007 session on getting VDOT and the Commonwealth Transportation Board to reorient their focus on performance measures that make a difference to those utilizing our roads–namely, how proposed projects reduce congestion and the amount of time Virginians spend in their vehicles.

    What good is delivering a road project on time and on budget if it does not relieve congestion?

    Last year, the General Assembly more closely linked local growth and development–a root cause of congestion–to transportation decisions. One crucial measure, HB 1513, recently empowered Loudoun’s Board of Supervisors to put the brakes on more than 30,000 new homes because the availability and planning for adjacent roads was insufficient to handle the increased burden.

    Additionally the number of counties that may collect road impact fees for new developments was expanded.

    For 2007, House Republicans are prepared to take the process further, advocating the most significant change to Virginia’s land use planning since the adoption of zoning more than a generation ago. This latest plan will give local governments more authority and responsibility, strengthening the link between land use and transportation.

    With Virginia currently carrying a hefty budget surplus for the third time in as many years, it is easy to understand why residents reject the efforts of those who see statewide tax increases as the sole solution to our transportation challenges.

    With a budget that expanded substantially–and transportation spending by the commonwealth exceeding the rate of that expansion–funding should not be viewed as the only issue deserving attention and action.

    By adopting a truly comprehensive approach to the transportation challenge, the General Assembly can continue to make genuine, identifiable progress in improving the mobility of Virginians using our network of roads, rails and transit. The 2007 session offers another opportunity for the commonwealth to make greater strides toward achieving that goal.”

    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2007/012007/01072007/248644

  6. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    I think if you want about “land use reform” you need to look at a major reform that trumps all – the specific statutory ability of local governments to deny any rezoning if the public facilities [roads, schools, water, sewer, police, and fire] are not there to support the development. It is also know as an adequate public facilities ordinance and in this Dillon Rule state, the specific language is needed and cannot be implied.

    In my paper there were several references to land use in the list of items requested by area governments: Henrico County on clustering, Cumberland and Dinwiddie against weakening local land use control and Louisa on impact fees.

    And if you want to talk about a fiscal dimension, if the state wants to give the roads back to the counties, then there should be equalized debt and taxing authority between counties and municipalities and counties should be guaranteed to receive the same amount as cities and towns for road maintenance and construction.

    Hope to see you on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in House Room C.

  7. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Traffic flow is pretty much equivalent to money. wehn you have gridlock, you stop the flow and it costs money. When you have excess congestion the flow slows down, and that costs money.

    If land use reform means limiting traffic by controlling the apparent need for traffic flow, then that costs money, too.

    Anyway you slice it, the state’s transporttion problems boil own to money.

    Now we are going to argue about whose money.

  8. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Everything costs money …. even the time it
    took Ray Hyde to write his posting.

    If you want to stop growth, then we need to
    abolish our economic development offices,
    limit the number of children our families
    produce and seal off our borders …. what
    do you think anonymous?

    Larry Gross, Mark Cole has a bill in the
    hopper designed to eliminate the State
    Senate and to get rid of John Chichester.
    How would the two of you solve the bad
    congestion problems in your community?

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “How would the two of you solve the bad congestion problems in your community?”

    NOT by taxing folks in Farmville!

    and NOT by lying to folks in Fredericksburg that we CAN.. TAX folks in Farmville to solve Fredericksburg’s congestion.

    In other words NOT by lying to voters.

    I’d tell them the truth.

    The truth is that the good folks in Fredericksburg will have to decide how much money that can afford to pay for whatever amount of infrastructure that could buy.

    It would be MOST important – that those limited funds be expended in most effective ways possible to get the best bang for the buck.

    I would present to the people in the area a Referenda that clearly showed the increases in taxes and the amount of money and infrastructure that that money would buy.

    I would propose that new roads – be electronically tolled – again in a referenda.

    What I would NOT do is try to raise their taxes and then have unelected folks decide out of public view what to build.

    You MUST have the support and trust of the public and folks who don’t “get” this are a disaster to the entire process.

  10. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Why would you propose that only new roads be electronically tolled?

    Wouldn’t it be better to toll the roads that are over used, new or old. Wouldn’t it be better to NOT toll new roads that are constructed expressly for the purpose of economic development, at least until the development occurs?

    Or is it that we only toll new roads in order to tax only the “new guys”?

  11. Ray Hyde Avatar

    You are right. there isn’t eneough money in Farmvill to solve Fredericksburg’s congestion. But there also isnt enough money in F’burg or NOVA to solve their congestion problems AND support the rest of the state.

    Therefore, even if NOVA successfully manages to pay its own bills, it means that Farmville will have to raise its own taxes anyway, unless they are happy with their roads as they are.

    To Farmville and the rest of the state, the answer is the same – higher taxes or less road money. But to say that these txes are being used to solve another regions problems is just wrong, especially after NOVA and HR have contributed to the rest of the state for so many years.

  12. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    The writers for this blog would have us
    eliminate our federal-state government
    system and Virginia would become a collection
    of individual cities and counties, each
    responsible for paying their own way.

  13. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    New Roads cost big money. Where are you going to get that money if only 22% want to pay taxes for it?

    I would suggest that people who live in that region and who ultimately will have to pay for it be consulted to see:

    1. – how much it will cost
    2. – who will pay for it and how

    and then asked via referenda to agree to pay for the new infrastructure – sales taxes, tolls, etc.

    THIS is what LEADERSHIP is about.

    You go to the people. You tell them the truth. You tell them the options. And then you actually listen to them.

    You don’t go in and tell them lies about the process… essentially pick their pockets under false pretenses .. and then tell them later that it has been decided to build something different than what they were promised.

    We have too many so-called leaders running around who basically believe in taxing people without asking them and then taking their taxes and using it to serve those who stand to benefit financially from new infrastructure rather than congestion relief.

    People are ON to this trick. They’re fed up with it. This was the message of the failed 2002 Referenda.

    The entire process of how transportation funding and project decisions are made – is no longer trusted by a lot of the public at large. They KNOW that major new projects are primarily for economic development and not congestion relief.

    This is why they support TOLL roads. They are willing to pay to use something that is real and exists and is not some promise on paper that gets defunded in favor of something different than what they were promised.

  14. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Anonymous Friend, As I explicitly stated in my post, Richmond does not have the same issue with traffic congestion that the other major metro regions do. I don’t expect the T-D to give the same attention to land use issues that the Washington Post does, and I have never suggested that it should.

    My problem is with the storyline that defines a statewide story — traffic congestion — as exclusively a fiscal issue. The entire T-D editorial staff has done that consistently over the past couple of years. In their column today, Hardy and Schapiro compound the problem by tying the transportation controversy to Northern Virginia politics. But, as Shear points out in the WaPo, the NoVa transportation debate is rapidly morphing into a transportation/land use debate. It can’t be ignored!

    For whatever reason, the T-D staff blind spot regarding land use makes the newspaper’s reporting about the statewide transportation debate one-dimensional and inadequate.

  15. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think we could give T-D the benefit of the doubt of perceiving the land-use issue to not be such a big deal .. if it is not as big a deal in the Richmond area as NoVa/HD.

    It would be not a stretch to hear a similiar editorial from Charlottesville or Roanoke… local perceptions – local perspectives.

    I don’t know if the TD article was METRO or Front Page.

    It’s clear to those of us who live closer to NoVa and NOT in Richmond that the Fed Govt is a prodigious generator of jobs.. and spinoff jobs and commerce that… if Richmond were in that circumstance.. they’d probably have the same exact problem of overloaded infrastructure.

    Anon thinks Richmond does not have the problem because it has “enough” infrastructure whereas others, believe they have “enough” because Richmond doesn’t have a jet-assisted job generator engine… like NoVa has.

    But I would say.. Richmond is more unique than NoVa.

    Take a visit to Charlotte… Atlanta… LA, … etc… and you’ll find that they do not have “enough” infrastructure either.

    To me .. that makes me wonder if Richmond is just not as robust a job-generating city.. at least at the levels we see in these other areas.

    There’s some irony also. Rememeber when I-95 in Richmond was TOLLED?

    Can folks remember why they took the TOLLS off? That section of road still has to be maintained.. so why not continue to collect tolls?

  16. Ray Hyde Avatar

    “You go to the people. You tell them the truth. You tell them the options. And then you actually listen to them.

    You don’t go in and tell them lies about the process… essentially pick their pockets under false pretenses .. and then tell them later that it has been decided to build something different than what they were promised.”

    Amen.

  17. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    How does the Fredericksburg region
    foot the bill for truck traffic
    coming out of Hampton Roads?

    Why should Hampton pay for beach
    traffic heading to the Outer Banks?

    Should Arlington County pay for DOD
    traffic coming in from the outer
    suburbs …. home to many defense
    employees?

    TD editors and reporters are not
    living daily with the congestion
    issues found in HR and NoVa.

  18. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: “How does the Fredericksburg region foot the bill for truck traffic coming out of Hampton Roads?”

    I’ll trade you. You go read JLARC’s recommendations of how to handle this and then come back and I’ll answer the question because my response is based on JLARCs recommendations.

    I’ll KNOW that you read it when your post contains their recommendations for doing that along with your comments.

    Here’s the link:
    http://jlarc.state.va.us/reports/rpt272.pdf

    page 144 is where their recommendations are…

    Fair enough?

  19. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    re: RTD perspective on GA and Land Use Legislation.

    I don’t know how you guys get your news… I use GOOGLE NEWs with the following search string:

    virginia general assembly transportation

    GOOGLE news itself is at: http://news.google.com/nwshp?hl=en&tab=wn&q=

    So today – you’ll get articles from a wide variety of news outlets – 323 of them.

    but if you change the search string to: virginia general assembly land use
    you’ll only get about 79 articles … about 1/5

    BUT if you look … news outlets ACROSS the state are represented….

    Check out Delegate Mark Cole’s commentary this morning in the Free Lance Star.

    I posted it earlier… he actually makes the case that we already spend more money on transportation than any other item except for education… AND that we’re funding it at a higher rate than inflation and population growth….

  20. Tobias Jodter Avatar
    Tobias Jodter

    If you want to stop growth, then we need to abolish our economic development offices, limit the number of children our families produce and seal off our borders ….

    It is statements like these that are very revealing… no wonder legal and illegal immigration keeps increasing… prop up entire industries via immigration…

  21. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    The American taxpayers have contributed
    collectively to building our national
    transportation system …. such as the
    interstate system.

    Virginia’s taxpayers have contributed
    collectively to building our state
    transportation system …. such as our
    primary and secondary roads, bridges,
    ferries, tunnels, etc.

    That is how we have built a nation
    of 300 million people that have the
    mobility we enjoy.

  22. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Right.

    Or we can become a collection of individual cities and counties, further subdivided into individual travelers each paying their own costs and each sending bills to all of the others to recover costs that rightfully belong to someone else.

    And with all the money collected, we still won’t know how to solve our transportation problems, because to many people will still be trying to go to the same places at the same time.

    Only it will cost more.

    Good thing we are not going to have any new taxes, we’ll need the money topay the tolls.

  23. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    Regional Authorities/PDCs/MPOs – all-appointed – controlled by special interests. Welcome to the balkanization of VA – and the passing of the unwanted hot potato from the GA to some other entities as to who is going to be made responsible for fixing the mess the GA and VDOT made.

  24. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    We need solutions.
    We need Virginians who will work to help us clean up this
    mess …. Reid Greenmum.
    We need for Jim Bacon to terminate this blog which is not
    a source of solutions for us.

  25. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Anonymous:

    I might agree that the general tenor of this blog is not a source of solutions for us.

    I would never agree that it should be terminated.

    Despite the occasionlly vitriolic disagreements between Larry, and JW, and EMR, and even JB and myself, they have NEVER invited me to go away.

    I find your suggestion offensive, in the extreme.

    I post here because I believe this blog has a following I might never achieve on my own. I get eaten up, day after day on account. But at least Jim Bacon and others have the courtesy not to suggest that I should be silenced.

    If you disagree with the tenor of this blog, then I invite you to supply your energy to help counteract whatever you think are mistaken facts or opinions.

    But, if you think the only proper answer is self censorship, then I would have to say you are seriously misguided.

    I generally agree with contibutors here as to the desired results of proposed policies, but I disagree entirely as to the means to achive them.

    I suggest that you join me in proposing alternate solutions to the same general goal, as opposed to merely suggesting termination of the discussion.

  26. Ray Hyde Avatar

    There may be a valid reason you post anonymously. I prefer to make my reasoning known under my own name. I’m not ashamed to be corrected publicly, and I will freely admit when that has occurred. If you prefer not to be known publicly, then you will have joined a long history of those that have published their opinions under pseudonyns.

    However, I strongly suggest that you adopt a known and acknowledged psuedonym, such that your opinions may be attributed to a single source.

  27. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    There is little room for other opinions on this blog
    …. the stable of writers are hostile, narrow minded
    and critical of those who do not share their agendas.

    The blog is not to unlike conservatives who control
    the GOP House of Delegates Caucus …. it is either
    you buy my program or you do not have a place at the
    table.

  28. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I agree with Ray.

    The way our own perspectives change and grow – is by discussion and dialogue.

    The focus is on ideas.

    The basic ground rules are to respect people and hammer on ideas – not the other way around.

    As long as we have respect for each other – there ought not be any sacred cows.

    Folks who hide their idenities, want to “snipe” and at the same time want censorship of ideas they don’t like … well I dunno what to say except I don’t think they’re helpful in group discussions.

  29. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Larry Gross has just made my case for
    he is a hostile, angry person who does
    not have the ability to consider other
    positions.

  30. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    IRT:

    We need solutions. We need Virginians who will work to help us clean up this mess …. Reid Greenmum. We need for Jim Bacon to terminate this blog which is not
    a source of solutions for us.

    First off – what we need are soultions that address the roots causes of the problem, not just endless tax hikes and tolls on every road – especially tolls that are collected and then spent not on reducing traffic congestion for those that paid the toll, but rather the toll money is redirected to pay for urban bike paths, urban TOD “economic development”, fancy horse trails … and replicas of wooden schooners (i.e. The Schooner Virginia subsidized by Virginia transportation funds).

    It is so telling that person that wrote the quote at the top of this blog advocates silences the voices of those of us that are discussing solutions – ours – and those placed on the table by others.

    I have learned that not doing the wrong thing is as important that doing ‘something’.

    Face it – we all have a track record of wasted tax funds and a dysfunctional transportation system.

    HOW we spend the tax money we already collect is where intelligent people should be focused.

    Those that do not know history as doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

    But there are voices here that advocate that we do not examine how transportation came to this sorry state. They appear to advocate no reforms, thus leaving the same bad decision-making process in place – which, more likely than not, will continue to waste the billions of increased tax funds they advocate we raise.

    I don’t seek to silence such voices, rather to help them understand my valid point of view.

    I am a solutions-oriented type of person – it is what I do.

    I also take the time to study problems, and discover how they were created in the first place.

    I seek to FIX PROBLEMS, not rush to put band aids on them, claim I fixed them … and then wait until the band aid fails later … down the road.

    What the business lobby have been trying to ruch the GA to do it to raise taxes so they can spend more money.

    I think 90% of folks that have an understanding of our transportation situation agree that there are many true needs and more funds are needed to pay for solutions.

    But simply collecting higher taxes actaully dosn’t fix anything, it just makes the taxpayers poorer – and in the case of tolls, it can even slow down traffic and create more bottlenecks.

    “Solutions” – okay, – to the person that wrote the quote at the top of this post – what “solutions” are being placed on the table at the GA – or by the Senate or the Governor?

    Show us the plan – tell us what roads and rail projects will be built – where – and when will they be completed.

    Show us how much traffic congestion will be reduced as a result of the increased spending.

    Show us the safegaurds put in place to prevent the money from being redirected elsewhere – later.

    Show us the reforms that actually FIX the problem so we do not repeat the mistakes makde in the past.

    Show us solutions, not just tax increases.

    But … apparently some that post on this blog are far more focused that we simply show them the money – and then claim that somehow – that is a “solution”.

    Folks, insanity is doing the same thing, over and over … and expecting a different result.

    But, apparently such common sense should be “deleted” – it stands in the way of those whose quest is to have more of the taxpayers money to spend – on whatever.

    Thank goodness for the conservatives in the HoD that are standing up to those Senate and the Governor – and the business lobby.

    Thank you Del. Leo Wardrup.

    And thank you HoD for the significant increases in funds you have already authorized to help us deal with the most critical needs while we craft a more intelligent, long term solution.

    Hopefully a solution that will help better manage growth such that it doesn’t continue to overwhelm of transportation system.

  31. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    What are the root causes of Virginia’s growth
    and transportation issues?

    How do we solve our problems resulting from
    our continued rapid growth resulting in our
    massive, major, horrible traffic problems?

  32. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    speaking of “land-use”, did folks see Metro WaPo yesterday… where T’Hazel and relatives are sueing Dominion over the powerline?

    Interesting info.

    He helped form PEC…

    the powerline is going directly through some of their property – “within a stone throw”.

    The lawsuit itself is a bit strange.

    He’s not opposing the powerline itself.

    He’s opposing the concept of NOT considering routes through land in conservation easement.

    Tellingly, PEC and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (who holds easements) do not consider this “helpful”.

    It may, in fact, be a direct challenge to the idea that land set aside in a conservation easement cannot be “taken” with emminent domain.

    The article suggests that there is nothing in the law that actually says that it cannot be used to “take” conserved land.

    Hey.. and I didn’t know that T’Hazel was Ray’s neighbor… wow! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    New fire safety rules affecting all non-domestic premises in England and Wales came into force on 1 October 2006.

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