The Locality-Driven Road-Building Boom

The Washington Post has picked up on the trend that local governments in Virginia and Maryland are stepping in to pay for local roads that the states cannot afford to build. Localities, reports Eric Weiss, “are going into debt to embark on an unprecedented half-billion-dollar road-building boom to try to ease some of the area’s worst jams.”

The story is useful in that it illuminates the fact that the phenomenon is not limited to Virginia jurisdictions. (Let’s hope the WaPo editorial writers, who routinely castigate Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates for their resistance to raising taxes, notice that Maryland counties are experiencing similar problems.)

Weiss concludes that there are more tolls and bonds in the future, and he quotes Pierce Homer, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation, as worrying that the local efforts are less likely to be coordinated than if the Virginia Department of Transportation has sufficient funds to undertake the projects itself — a legitimate concern. Road networks are regional in nature. Secondary roads are rightly the responsibility of local governments, but primaries and Interstates should be left to VDOT.

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2 responses to “The Locality-Driven Road-Building Boom”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    okay… repeat after me…

    localities take care of local roads (all together now)
    VDOT takes care of roads of statewide significance PLUS roads that connect MPOs

    … and then this part

    MPOs MPOs MPOs… take care of REGIONAL Roads

    Now – one might ask what the heck is an MPO

    well.. I’m glad you asked:

    Metropolitan Planning Organization
    Under federal legislation (see TEA-21), MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet a region’s current and future transportation needs. Each MPO establishes its region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects. MPOs carry the lead responsibility for developing transportation plans and programs for urbanized areas of 50,000 people or more.

    Yeah.. but I bet none of those critters are running around loose in Virginia.

    Well.. I’m glad you mentioned that

    Bristol, TN-Bristol, VA
    Bristol Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Danville Metropolitan Planning,Organization

    Fredericksburg (Newly-Defined 1990 Urbanized Area)
    Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Kingsport, TN-VA
    Kingsport Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Transportation Planning Council

    Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News
    Hampton Roads Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Tri-Cities Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

    Oh… and just a a thought… does anyone think that such organizations MIGHT
    be a place to discuss Regional land-use issues?

  2. Ray Hyde Avatar

    Let me get this straight. You don’t care how many roads we build or how much we use them, as long as this occurs in some OTHER locality, where you don’t have to pay for them?

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