McDonnell’s Smart Campaign

Although it’s not a dead certainty, it sure seems that Bob McDonnell will be Virginia’s next governor. Despite the revelation of a graduate master’s thesis that makes him look Cro-Magnon, McDonnell has run a virtually error-free campaign while his opponent, Creigh Deeds, has had disconnect after disconnect.

Personally, little of what McDonnell stands for or has proposed is appealing, but Deeds hasn’t come up with much on the policy front at all. This could be a turning point since the Democrats have trounced the state GOP since 2001. Republicans have put in such a bad showing that the state voted Democratic for president for the first time since 1964.

But there appears to be a shift in favor of the GOP and it is important to start reading the tea leaves. A helpful place to start is today’s lede story in The Washington Post. The article shows how the GOP has finally figured out how to play in Virginia.
Northern Virginia is key especially since it represents a huge demographic and economic change in the Old Dominion. As the tech industry took off there in the 1990s followed by a big ramp-up in defense spending post 9/11, NOVA has seen a big influx of smart, well-educated people from all across the country, if not the world.

They don’t know of all the mossbacks in either party who have hamstrung Virginia for years with the usual sells that are anti-tax, anti-government, pro-gun, anti-abortion and anti-regulation. What used to work int he state, namely, a lot of rural yahoos controlling much of the action, has shifted.
The Post, which has endorsed Deeds editorially, helps explain how McDonnell, despite his baggage of social conservatism and the fact that he’ll probably lose NOVA anyway, is one GOPer who has finally gotten it.
McDonnell has abandoned strident social issues by praising Obama where it helps, i.e. on the Nobel Prize while simultaneously taking advantage of Obama’s current decline in polls. He has shunned the approaches that doomed the McCain-Palin campaign, going so far as to ask “Rogue” Sarah to steer clear of Virginia. Smart move. The last thing he needs is having the ‘I can see Russia” woman who abandoned her governorship insulting the intelligence of key voters he badly needs.
All of this is designed to play in NOVA-land and, as the Post states, get rid of the out-dated mentality that conservatives should just plan on what they can get south of Occoquan and hope for the best in NOVA.

McDonnell also seems to be winning, to some extent, among minorities. He’s appealed to Latinos while just a couple of years ago, Virginia Republicans had launched and ugly, racist war on so-called “illegals” to try to win attention of disaffected whites. That backfired badly. And, the fact that McDonnell has picked up the support of BET heiress Sheila Johnson speaks to his inroads with African-Americans.
This could be the traction that the GOP needs to recast itself with younger, smarter conservatives. One could include in this category House Minority Whip Eric Cantor who is gaining a lot of air time on talk shows. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of Cantor says is bunk and he is in the pocket of big institutions such as managed care companies. Yet, there’s no way of not noticing Cantor’s success in fund-raising and the impact he is having on shifting the GOP away form the nightmare years of “W, Cheney and Rumsfeld.
Unfortunately, Deeds is squandering the legacy that Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have built up. He has not taken advantage of the pro-business stances they helped create while being level-headed on social issues. There’s plenty in the press about how Deeds has stubbornly gone his own way, but when you consider his dearth of policy positions, that’s really no way at all.
Don’t get me wrong. I find a lot about McDonnell objectionable As a former Tar Heel, I find it ridiculous and offensive that he wants to somehow tax motorists driving up from North Carolina on Interstates 95 and 85. His “Drill Here, Drill Now,” stances regarding offshore oil show a remarkable lack of concern for the environment or even global energy realities. The rest of his platform is the usual GOP stuff.

But he is at least savvy enough to note the changes Virginia has gone through and he certainly should since he grew up in NOVA-land. Interestingly, the Post has tables showing the changes in the stater and in NOVA. IN 1999, the biggest employers in the state were Newport News Shipbuilding, retail and food chains and then old line manufacturers like Philip Morris or Vepco.
Today, the top two are pretty much the same but there’s a big influx of government contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton and SAIC. Philip Morris is off the list and Vepcom comes in at No. 15.
So, it does appear a shift is in the winds.
Peter Galuszka

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171 responses to “McDonnell’s Smart Campaign”

  1. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    [T]he fact that McDonnell has picked up the support of BET heiress Sheila Johnson speaks to his inroads with African-Americans.

    You'd think, but actually not. I don't know the backstory here, but Sheila loathes Creigh, and has for years. It's personal, not political. She doesn't agree with McDonnell about much, but if she can publicly humiliate Creigh, it's worth every last ounce of effort to her.

    My knowledge about this, FWIW, doesn't come from the Deeds campaign, but comes from working for UVA—my wife used to work there, too, as a fundraiser—and Sheila is a big time donor to the university.

  2. The bigger story here, IMO, is the fact that the R's will probably sweep all three state-wide races this year.

    I bet most registered voters in VA couldn't even tell you who is on the ballot for Lt. Governor or AG for the D's….anyone have any info as to what turnout is projected to be?

    Anyway, who cares….it doesn't matter who the Governor is because there isn't any money to keep all the promises these people are making anyway.

    Expect more of the same…finger pointing and blaming the previous administrations for all the problems we have.

  3. I agree.. Deeds is done. McDonnell is a pretty big question mark though in my view.

    McDonnell has an opportunity to get Virginia's Fiscal house in order – depending on one's point of view on whether we can meet our needs with the decreased revenue streams.

    I think Virginia has a bad system for Governorship because all we can ever get – is someone who learns on the job -then once he (or she) finally gets a better handle on the State – they have to leave – and we start over with a brand new guy and it just seems like we get more than our share of bull-in-the-china-shop, ham-fisted Governors.

    I laugh when I view McDonnell's list of transportation initiatives when I see "VDOT Audit"… well… "Outside VDOT Audit"… but how many times have we been promised audits and reforms at VDOT – usually in response to the fact that VDOT's funding is shrinking.

    The studies I have seen say that VDOT does a decent job on maintenance – with the monies they have but no amount of "auditing" or "reform" is going to produce significant new transportation money unless one thinks that there is a billion dollars of waste, fraud and abuse in VDOT – and though I'm a pretty constant critic of VDOT, even I don't think there is that level of recoverable funds …

    I am more intrigued by McDonnell's pledge to let NoVa keep more of it's sales tax revenues for transportation.

    Did anyone actually see how many increased dollars was being promised?

    I notice on NVTA's site that they estimate that 1% sales tax in Va will generate more than $350 million a year.

    Not sure what NoVa would spend big bucks on – anyone have thoughts on what? More Metro?

  4. correction:

    I notice on NVTA's site that they estimate that 1% sales tax in [NORTHERN] Va will generate more than $350 million a year"

    I think 1% at the State level generates about a billion but then around 30% of that billion comes from NoVa.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    How about a transportation/land use plan that includes: 1) more revenue; 2) more transparency on CTB and all organizations that make transportation funding decisions; and 3) an adequate public facilities law?

    Waldo, fascinating bit of information.

    I've met Creigh Deeds and talked with him several years ago. His number one interest seemed to me to be getting more Fairfax County tax dollars sent to Richmond for distribution elsewhere. I've met Bob McDonnell, but only exchanged pleasantries.

    RBV, I agree; there is no money. So how about setting some priorities?

    NVTA is one more arm of the real estate developers. Remember Til Hazel said: I build things. Taxpayers are here to fund the infrastructure necessary to support what I build. IMO, it's not much of a step from: I plant tobacco. Blacks are here to perform the manual labor necessary to support what I plant.

    A transportation plan that enrages the development industry is probably a good plan.

    TMT

  6. Groveton Avatar

    Several points:

    1. Peter – another pre-mortem from you? I hope nobody votes for Deeds. I think he's a buffoon and I think TMT has it right when he says Deeds' political life is dedicated to fleecing NoVa. However, he surprised everybody in the primary. I'd be very careful about writing the man off just yet.

    2. Waldo – In my humble opinion, the only thing that residents of NoVa can do that's dumber than voting for Deeds is contributing to UVA. And I graduated from "The University"(incredible sarcasm intended).

    3. LarryG – Maintenance is pretty easy, isn't it? Like saying UVa is good at punting the football. Maybe true but not much of an endorsement. If VDOT can't keep people moving then who cares about their prowess at maintenance?

    4. TMT – I usually like what you write and agree with it. However, I have to say, "Shame on you" for your post. Equating slavery to NoVa developers scamming the system? That's just not right. Especially not in a state that repeatedly disgraced itself with horrible behavior in regard to slavery, discrimination, segregation, etc. Knowing you and your views I can only assume that you didn't really mean what you wrote.

    5. All – the same losers who ran away from problems in their own hometowns to come to NoVa will run away from NoVa as soon as the outlook dims a bit here. Ask the people who stayed in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, etc how much respect they have for the bozos who ran away when the going got tough but still show up in Steeler, Lions and Browns jerseys at FedEx field. These hit and run liberals will be gone from NoVa soon enough. And the gutless liberalism they carried into Northern Virginia will be gone with them. The home towns of these people couldn't count on them over time and neither should Virginia's Democratic or Republican parties.

  7. well I agree about NVTA. I think they were at least partially responsible for why the 2002 Referenda went down. Most citizens realized that it was a huge slush fund that would be "administered" by the well-connected with little transparency and accountability.

    But I give them credit on going through the funding numbers.

    It adds some realistic data to the debate which I find is sorely needed because the average person has almost no idea these numbers.

    We're going through a little exercise down my way – where you might be surprised – people are asking how much of our gas tax that we pay do we actually get back in goods and services and despite a plethora of data about how much localities get back from the sales tax and such, there appears to be no county-level accountability.

    and I think that's a bigger problem actually than adequate public facilities, more revenue or CTB transparency & accountability.

    I think if local people knew and understand how much money they generated in gas taxes and how much of it they got back in infrastructure, maintenance and operations – they would much better understand the connection between wants/needs and how to pay for them.

    Right now, we have a bunch of folks who think road funding comes from a money tree in Richmond and they way to get more is to shake that tree a little harder…

    I especially love the concept of advocating that they state "step up to the plate on transportation funding" – as if the State would actually do that -that it would not result in greater taxes at the local level.

    So.. you and I don't know how much of our gas tax actually makes it back to our county from Richmond and Washington ..and we are going to advocate that they take more and we still won't know how much we'll get back.

    Why not advocate that NoVa have the ability to raise it's own transpo money – with local elected officials accountable ?

    We still need to send some amount to Richmond and Washington for the Interstates and similar but at least that way – we'd actually know what we keep and what we send.

    The fundamental problem here IMHO is a lack of transparency and accountability and I would be happy if that would be one of McDonnells deals but if he turns out to be aligned with the development community, I'll not be shocked.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton – I meant my comparison exactly. Slavery existed because some people believed that other people were inherently inferior and existed for the benefit of the former. Slavery was not about black and white. It was about an arrogant belief that one man could claim the fruits of another man's labors because the first was somehow better than the second.

    The same attitude that fostered slavery in the South effected the WASP treatment of the Catholic Irish in the North. I have a photocopy of an article form the Liberator newspaper, in which the anti-slavery editors wrote that, in many cases, the lot of the Irish was worse than the black slaves. The same attitude produced similar results.

    While black slavery is long gone from Virginia, there remains a strong attitude among some that they are superior to others who live in Virginia. Their rights come first. The little people can pay taxes. We'll make the ordinary people who drive the Dulles Toll Road pay for Dulles Rail that mainly benefits our landholdings at Tysons Corner. We'll gin up these new taxes that can get spent on projects that we want because we control the transportation authority or the board of supervisors or the fill in the blank.

    I would readily agree that today's manifestations are no where near those that permeated the 19th century, but the underlying attitudes are the very same. Some in Virginia believe that they are the elite, who are superior to the rest of the people and those inferior people exist to be exploited.

    TMT

  9. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,
    As far as writing off Deeds too soon, let's just say that I hope you are right.
    PG
    Ps: Guess whom I'm voting for?

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    Alexandrians Beat City Council Down on Toll Lanes
    Council set to "strongly oppose" project
    By ASHA BEH

    There won't be anything HOT happening on I-95 or I-395 if Alexandria's residents have anything to say about it.

    At a recent public hearing on the proposed high-occupancy toll lanes on the local interstate highways, residents got the City Council to formally denounce the project, according to the Washington Examiner.

    The good citizens of Alexandria say they are worried that the project would increase congestion on I-395 and I-95, versus decreasing it, and that it would have a "negative environmental effect on the area."

    ———————-

    Why not advocate that NoVa have the ability to raise it's own transpo money – with local elected officials accountable ?

    Fine as long as they don't have to ALSO contribute down state.

    ————————–

    "I think 1% at the State level generates about a billion but then around 30% of that billion comes from NoVa."

    I think it is better than 40%.

    RH

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    "Groveton – I meant my comparison exactly. Slavery existed because some people believed that other people were inherently inferior and existed for the benefit of the former. Slavery was not about black and white. It was about an arrogant belief that one man could claim the fruits of another man's labors because the first was somehow better than the second. "

    Thank you TMT, my sentiments exactly

    Fauquier sharecropper / RH

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    "The fundamental problem here IMHO is a lack of transparency and accountability "

    AHEM.

    How do you get transparency and accountability? Some kind of market ususally works pretty well.

    How about if the state proposes a basic roads budget, and then they auction off first place on the prirority list to the highest county bidder, etc.

    You would sell off the first ten or twenty priority jobs until the state budget runs out. Then you would use all the money bid to get the first ten to fund the next two.

    RH

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    The Federal Highway Administration already gave the [HOT Lane] project a special exclusion, which let the Virginia Department of Transportation totally forget about an environment study before beginning the project.

    Alexandria's council is now set to "strongly oppose" the project as it currently is. And it's not the only area creating a ruckus in support or against the issue.

    According to the Examiner, Arlington County has filed a lawsuit against the commonwealth and the federal government

    ———————–

    RH

  14. Groveton Avatar

    LarryG – "Right now, we have a bunch of folks who think road funding comes from a money tree in Richmond and they way to get more is to shake that tree a little harder…".

    Close but no cigar. You are one word off:

    "Right now, we have a bunch of folks who think ALL funding comes from a money tree in Richmond and they way to get more is to shake that tree a little harder…".

    People who are guzzling from the NoVa to elsewhere locality welfare system alway try to restrict the discussion to roads. Here's a better thought – We, in NoVa, will raise our own taxes for everything we need and we'll pay for everything we need. You, elsewhere, should do the same.

    TMT – I understand the trajectory of your argument but I don't accept the scale. In US history slavery was a holocost in a class by itself. Nobody kidnapped the Irish and forced them to the US. Nobody held the Irish and their children in bondage for centuries. Irish Catholic Americans (and I am one) had their first president long before African Americans had anything remotely resembling equality.

    Peter – We can save ourselves some time by both staying home on election day. However, on second thought, one more vote in NoVa for McDonnell might be a gged enough reason for us to both go to the polls. Of course, being an Irish Catholic, my many, many adult siblings and children will all go to the polls as well. All are suitably brainwashed anti-NoVa-to-elsewhere locality welfare guys. All will vote for McDonnell. Had McDonnell run as a Democrat and Deeds as a Republican – all would be voting Democrat. TMT is quite right – this election is about slapping down a rural scam artist and nothing else.

  15. transparency & accountability

    we don't need anything at all at the start except this simple data.

    how much your county generates in gas taxes and how much your county receives in infrastructure, maintenance and operations.

    that's a start but a very important start.

    I'm willing to bet that most folks don't know how much their county generates in taxes and cannot provide a link to the data that shows that.

    I'll bet you also virtually no one knows how much transportation money, goods, services you receive.

    If you don't know this info how could you possibly hold an informed opinion in favor or opposed to higher/more taxes ?

    Bonus Question:

    If you are a person who thinks your county needs "more" show me how much more is needed.

    If you don't know this then again how could you advocate for "more"?

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    "By Robert McCartney
    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    The biggest change for Washington area drivers in coming years can be summed up in a single word.

    Tolls.

    Tolls on new roads. Higher tolls on existing roads. Tolls on new lanes. Higher tolls in rush hour. Local governments even plan to study a radical proposal to charge a toll every time you drive your car, even on a quick trip to the grocery store using side streets. (A GPS or other device would be used to calculate your bill.)

    Why is this happening? Mostly because we need new roads and politicians are scared to raise the gasoline tax to pay for them. It's pretty much that simple.

    It's also unfortunate, because increasing the gasoline tax is a smarter alternative. It would be more efficient, because the collection apparatus is in place and there'd be no need to pay for new E-ZPass equipment, tollbooths or machines to photograph license plates. It would spread the burden more equitably and avoid putting some roads and express lanes off-limits to the less-affluent."

    ————————

    "The tolls are high, too. The rates proposed last month for the ICC would be among the costliest in the nation. They'd be up to 35 cents a mile at rush hour…"

    WAPO

    —————————-

    35 cents a mile is equivalent to a gas tax of $8.05 per gallon.

    RH

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    "how much your county generates in gas taxes and how much your county receives in infrastructure, maintenance and operations."

    How much are you paying and what are you buying. In a market, that is transparent. The difference between a market and waht we have now is that in a market it is assumed that you actually own what it is you buy.

    RH

  18. Anonymous Avatar

    "We, in NoVa, will raise our own taxes for everything we need and we'll pay for everything we need. You, elsewhere, should do the same."

    Secession, secession – no taxation without representation.

    Oh, that's right, been there done that.

    RH

  19. re: HOT Lanes lawsuit

    1. VDOT and FHWA did appear to err by trying to move the project faster by using a CD (Categorical Exclusion) instead of a full NEPA study.

    However, there are a couple of interesting issues.

    First, how many other HOT Lane projects were done with CEs rather than NEPA

    Second, EPA is the lead agency for air quality impacts and they could have forced a full NEPA if they felt the HOT Lanes would adversely impact air quality –

    unless of course one might believe that Mary Peters and her Boss Bush were in favor of gutting NEPA and the EPA anyhow – which I would not rule out.

    2. Let's assume the lawsuit goes forward and it is found that the HOT Lanes are not going to happen.

    what next?

    what improvements might be made to the I-95 corridor – and more important – where would the funding come from?

    Third – there is some inside baseball here not apparent to many and that is the Coalition for Smarter Growth – and some other environmental organizations including the Sierra Club believe (correctly) that VDOT is evading the intent of NEPA with the PPTA method of building new roads – and they want obtain a legal decision that requires VDOT to use full NEPA for PPTA projects.

    VDOT had earlier evaded doing a full NEPA on the I-81 widening proposal by saying it was a PPTA and did not need to strictly follow the normal NEPA process.

    Then Arlington itself has, IMHO, a legitimate concern about increased car traffic because due to more solo cars paying HOT tolls.

    but Ray.. I don't think you're going to be happy with the longer term outcome of this even if the HOT Lanes go down.

    There will not likely be any funding for I-95 improvements unless it is tolled and the NEPA requirement is going to more than likely result in LESS approved roads and MORE transit.

  20. Groveton Avatar

    "I'm willing to bet that most folks don't know how much their county generates in taxes and cannot provide a link to the data that shows that.".

    Our elected representatives don't know the answer. I am big fan of Chap Petersen (Democratic state senator from Fairfax). I have asked this very question on his blog (www.oxroadsouth.com). He has responded that the information to make this assessment is unavailable – even to members of the General Assembly.

    I disagree with Chap on some things (he has been a Creigh Deeds supporter from day one for example). However, I believe he is a very honest man. He has taken positions that are contrary to his own political future because of what he believes. When he says the information is not available I believe him. However, I personally believe that the information should be available and out part-time legislature lets way too much of this stuff go on.

    If Creigh Deeds came out today and said he would create a full and honest accounting, by locality, of where all taxes are raised and all state monies are spent – I'd vote for him. He doesn't even have to say he'll do anything about it – he just needs to say that he'll produce the accounting. Things are just that bad in the mis-managed Commonwealth of Virginia. I'd vote for a guy who simply promised to tell the truth.

    As for succession from the Commonwealth – ask the good people of West Virginia or Kentucky. It can be done and it ought to be a consideration for NoVa.

  21. the ICC will not be a self-sufficient toll road even with the .35 cent tolls.

    that should tell you something about the funding feasibility of more roads like the ICC.

    License Plate pattern recognition is a reality. there are tolls roads that don't have toll booths nor need a transponder but they will charge you more if they bill you via your plate instead of the transponder.

    but if you really want to worry, this same technology can be used to set up "congestion zones". Every time you go past a camera into that zone you get a toll.

    Also.. they're using this same technology for red light running and speeders.. and they are proving to be very lucrative but also very effective at – for instance – nailing people who are speeding through residential areas or running red lights where there are pedestrian crossings.

    And if you want to be REALLY paranoid – the cops are using these cameras automatically and a warning sound goes off when your plate "hits" and it could be used to track you down for other nefarious activities like not paying your taxes.

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    "..but Ray.. I don't think you're going to be happy with the longer term outcome of this even if the HOT Lanes go down."

    You assume I have a position. My happiness depends on neither HOT lanes nor Sierra Club, but my personal opinion is that BOTH are barking up the wrong tree.

    My observation is that HOT lanes are a totally screwed up idea from the get-go, especially considering their heritage as HOV lanes.

    Sierra Club is stuck in Never Never Land. They think we can achieve zero pollution, send the polluters the bill, and not wreck the economy, the environment or human subsistence in the process. They live in a nirvana of ideas that are mutaully exclusive.

    RH

  23. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton,
    I am happy you achnowledge your Irish Catholic tendencies. Almost married one (or was it two?) Seriously, they all are lovely people, including my Mom (although she's on the Protestant side, but not me, I am on the other side, more Central Europe).
    As one of my former Irish Catholic girlfirends told me (she's in Chicago, a la Obama), "vote early and often!"
    Let's hope your kin can pull this off!

    Peter Galuszka

  24. Anonymous Avatar

    I could care less whether they build HOT lanes or not, in the end they will discover it is a mistake. If we stop now we can still preserve some resources that can be better used.

    We are not going to fix DC's congestion/pollution problem by building roads, and not by building trains or other mass transit either.

    RH

  25. Anonymous Avatar

    "…that should tell you something about the funding feasibility of more roads like the ICC."

    I'm pretty certain the ICC was a lot more feasible thirty years ago.

    After thirty years of bickering ICC will never even pay for the lawsuits it spawned, let alone the pavement.

    Half the argument was that it wasn't needed, and the other half was that too many people would use it. It is the same as the WalMart argument.

    The paradox is that it probably comes closer to paying for itself if it is free than it does with $11 tolls, but we will never have the transparency and accountability to know.

    RH

  26. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton – let's agree to disagree.

    Beltway HOT Lanes – they will provide one big benefit to Fairfax County — for the first time in recent memory, there will be reliable bus service on the Beltway. We can put buses on, and then take them off, without stranding the bus in traffic. That is a real benefit, IMO.

    If someone else wants to go faster, that someone can pay the going toll. Others can continue on the Beltway as is.

    Fairfax County giveaways. I'm sick of them. I don't mind helping to support truly poor communities or truly poor people. And I'm willing to accept today's crappy formulae that screws Fairfax County, but I won't accept sending more money to Richmond. And I don't blame those who attempt to steal more. I blame the clowns who permit and enable them to do so.

    Assuming that the 2004 tax increase was appropriate and necessary, Mark Warner would not have vetoed the bill had Fairfax County delegates and senators gotten a better deal for their constituents. Even if we would have gotten per capita funding on just the new increment, I might have accepted the tax hike. But why are we electing people who vote to give away their constituents' money? Until my friend Bill Lecos left the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, I used to judge whether something was good for Fairfax County when both Lecos and Fred Hiatt agreed on the same thing. Whenever they did, it was a disaster.

    TMT

  27. " I have asked this very question on his blog (www.oxroadsouth.com). He has responded that the information to make this assessment is unavailable – even to members of the General Assembly."

    Wow! That's quite an admission for an elected representative.

    Our local BOS asked VDOT this question and they said the information was "readily available" and that they would provide it.

    Here's a start Groveton:

    NoVa District: $733,692,895

    page 7

    http://virginiadot.org/business/resources/fy-08-supplement-final.pdf

    now if you assume 2.5 million folks, it works out to about $300 per capita.

    now if you take the entire VDOT budget and work the per capita number – you get about $500

    these are rough.. for instance I did not validate that what VDOT calls NoVa is the same thing that Wiki/Weldon Cooper calls NoVa.

    you can back-envelope this another way.

    there's about 2 million registered vehicles in NoVa.

    Let's assume 12K per year per car and 20 mpg and 35 cent Fed/State tax.

    about 200.00 but then you have to figure the other sources including the 1/2% sales tax.

    that's about 175 million

    then there are also sales taxes on new cars, etc…

    this gets me close to about $600 million +/- which is about 100 million shy of what the VDOT NOVA district office is budgeted.

    but I'm more than a little disturbed that folks like Chap don't know and apparently haven't submitted legislation requiring it – but still manage to take a position on transportation funding.

    I'm not sure I understand how any public official can take a position without knowing this data – backwards and forwards.

    I'm dismayed that our public officials don't know and apparently don't feel the need to know.

  28. subpatre Avatar

    “. . . most folks don't know how much their county generates in taxes and cannot provide a link to the data that shows that. Our elected representatives don't know the answer. . .”

    Virginia fuel taxes are paid by the distributor, not by the retailer; so indeed, per county generated taxes cannot be tracked.

    Larry G wrote:" now if you assume 2.5 million folks, it works out to about $300 per capita."
    The math seems reasonable, but the bottom line is that geographic distribution of allocated funds doesn’t provide a clue about the geographic distribution of the funds’ sources.

  29. Groveton Avatar

    Here is the link from Ox Road South:

    http://oxroadsouth.com/2009/08/14/headed-to-sw-this-weekend.aspx#Comment

    Here is the relevant part of Sen. Petersen's reply to my comment:

    "Fairfax puts $60M into the highway and maintenance fund each year based upon our sales tax receipts (gas is collected by the state and I can't seem to get these #'s broken down by jurisdiction).".

    LarryG – I went to the VDOT PDF you suggested and looked at page 7. Isn't that where VDOT spends the money? Where is the accounting of where the money comes from? Chap says that the gas tax collections are not published by jurisdiction. That would make it very hard to know if VDOT's spending level is fair or not. No?

  30. not can't…

    but won't

    Each tank truck has a manifest that includes the name and location of the station it is delivering to.

    Each delivery is recorded on computer..

    If the state can compute sales taxes per county – they can compute gasoline taxes per county

    If VRE can figure out how to allocate the 2% tax on a locality basis then why can't the state?

    I think the State CAN do this .. it's not impossible

    not doing it and giving the technical reason why is basically refusing to provide the info – which is another example IMHO of Virginia's imperious attitude towards it's citizens.

    one of the reasons people are opposed to increases in the gas taxes is that they simply think the money goes into a black hole in Richmond and they'll be lucky to see any of it.

    On the other hand, when a county actually presents a list of road projects improvements with a dollar cost on a referenda – they have a good record of approval.

    People WILL pay if they know who is spending the money and on what projects.

    No elected official should be advocating increased taxes without being to tell people how those increased taxes will benefit their county IMHO.

    And elected officials who believe that taxpayers should see this info need to do one thing.

    Submit legislation that says "You WILL provide this info". Period.

    they can figure out what it would take.

  31. Groveton – correct. You can only do an envelope calculation that SHOULD give you a number in the ballpark to their budget.

    You can compute this a number of different ways so that you can develop a range of estimates that would pretty much bound the data and give a reasonable estimate.

    that's why I sent through the calculations.

    but here's another link to consult:

    http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/tracking_sep09.pdf

    now this will actually tell you how much money is being generate – at the state level which you then could convert to regional per capita data.

    and I gave you this:

    http://www.nvta.org/content.asp?contentid=1188

    which you ought to look at and ask how they got their data….
    (since they don't footnote it).

    but everyone who has an interest in transportation and transportation funding and taxes ought to know this data for their own jurisdiction or how could they possibly know what changes to support or oppose?

  32. Groveton Avatar

    "Virginia fuel taxes are paid by the distributor, not by the retailer; so indeed, per county generated taxes cannot be tracked.".

    I am sure you are right since nobody seems able to come up with an answer. However, the state inspects every vehicle operated on public roads. The odometer readings are recorded. The type of vehicle is recorded. The vehicle's average miles per gallon (by model) are a matter of record (verified, I believe, by the EPA). Therefore, estimating the gas tax receipts by region is a pretty straight forward process based on data the state already has.

    I suppose that there are some people who have cars registered in Northern Virginia but buy their gas somewhere else. I'd expect that this represents a very, very small percentage of the total gallons of gas purchased. I also imagine that there are some people who live outside of Northern Virginia but buy their gas in Northern Virginia. However, if you look at the facts, I believe that this is also a very, very small percentage of the total gallons purchased. There are a fair number of people who commute from Prince William or Loudoun Counties to Fairfax or Arlington. But that's commuting within Northern Virginia. The number of people who really commute from Woodstock or Front Royal is very small number relative to the base.

    So, the gas tax receipts can be pretty well estimated even if the taxes are paid by the distributor. However, as TMT says, our elected officials in NoVa are either too stupid, too lazy or too dishonest to demand such an accounting. And those of us who keep electing these dipsticks are either too stupid or too lazy to care.

  33. so.. here's an example..

    some folks say we need a nickel or a dime or even a quarter increase on the gas tax because transportation funding is "critical".

    so I ask you folks:

    How much more money would Fairfax, NoVa get from a nickel, a dime, a quarter?

    If you don't know this then how could you be in favor of a nickel or a dime or a quarter or other?

    no wonder our elected representatives think we are fools sometimes…

    They don't know and we don't ask.

    right, wrong or indifferent – give the NVTA folks some credit on this…. someone over there, probably Mr. Chase as taken the time to develop the info. (which hopefully is correct).

    and of course they provide a list of projects that they think are "needs" also… to suck up all of that hopeful increased funding…

  34. Groveton – think about this.

    When you stop for gasoline and you go inside for a coke or coffee they just you sales tax – and that tax gets reported and the state slices and dices the gazillion WaWa, Sheetz, Exxon, 7-11 sales taxes reports and allocates them on a locality basis.

    They could do this at the time they load that tanker… it is given a computer-generated manifest for each station and the number of gallons of gas to be delivered to that station.

    Or they could require the station to submit the number of gallons of gas it sold for the same time period that it reports how much other taxable sales are reported.

    like I said.

    you put legislation in the bin that says: "You will do this"

    and "when you figure out how to do it – report back and we'll add in to this site with the rest of the money we report:

    http://datapoint.apa.virginia.gov/

  35. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry – I am interested in two issues regarding higher taxes and fees for transportation.

    Issue one: How much additional revenue would be generated in Fairfax County and how much additional revenue would be spent in Fairfax County?

    Issue two: On what projects would the additional revenue for Fairfax County be spent; how do those projects rank in terms of safety and reduction of traffic congestion; and what benefits would flow to taxpayers?

    This afternoon I attended an open house held by a neighbor and friend. I was talking with him. He mentioned that a big Tysons Corner landowner (I won't identify by name) had been there earlier. The other guest was complaining that his building was outside the quarter mile radius from a Metrorail station. He is apparently furious that his lot will not obtain significant increases in density that the parcels located within the quarter mile radius will receive.

    Apparently, the other guest complained that Fairfax County needed to give him a financial incentive for him to tear down his ten-story building. The ability to construct a twelve-story building is no incentive.

    I agree, but why should Fairfax County give a landowner an incentive to construct something that should generate profits? This is not capitalism. I can see giving more density at the rail stations and even a bonus for providing affordable housing at the rail station. But this epitomizes what is wrong with Virginia, most especially Fairfax County. This person believes that he is more important than the little people who also reside or work here. Those little people must give up something for their betters to make more profits.

    This SoB, had he lived 170 years ago, would have owned slaves. His mentality and those of the plantation owners are identical.

    TMT

  36. " How much additional revenue would be generated in Fairfax County and how much additional revenue would be spent in Fairfax County?"

    has this info been forthcoming from McDonnell and others wishing to represent you?

    My view is because Va does roads "from Richmond" that the average person in Fairfax has no clue has most road funding and road decisions are made nor how to influence their county leaders to focus on bottlenecks and safety issues rather than ignoring them to build new roads.

    Groveton complains bitterly about how Dillon-Rule Richmond command and controls the localities while slurping up their taxes but the truth is that even though Va is a Dillon-Rule state that it has, in fact, delegated virtually all of the land-use decisions to the localities – unlike some states like Florida (also a Dillon-Rule state) which has a State Level Comp Plan that the locality Comp Plans must conform to.

    http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/04-r14.pdf

    I highly recommend reading the above.. to develop a better appreciation of how Virginia (and thus Fairfax) fits into the land-use/transportation conundrum).

    At the end of the day – the folks in Fairfax County, especially the longer term residents must be vigilant, vocal and active because in Virginia, the local elected – knowing that they cannot be easily recalled – know that they get 4-year windows to do what they want unless they are confronted continuously by irate constituents.

    Groveton is right about Virginia's imperious attitudes, the "Pocahontas effect" but you are even more correct as this kind of mindset is also readily apparent at the local levels also.

    It's the idea that people have to have others "decide" for them because they don't know enough to understand the choices.

    it really is almost an institutional arrogance beget by the original Va Governance model.

    We don't need to be like California where every idiot and their cur dog get to vote on things they don't even understand but we need to be able to more easily jettison those elected who think they have free will to do what they think for the "little people".

  37. Anonymous Avatar

    "so I ask you folks:

    How much more money would Fairfax, NoVa get from a nickel, a dime, a quarter?"

    Two answers:

    1)There is enough needed work to be done that, in some respects, it doesnt matter how mucyh NOVA gets. There is sufficient demand for all work that there is an argument everyone should pay. The toll road argument is just a way to avoid that fact.

    2)If everyone does pay, NOVA is going to pay a disproportiate amount. There ought to be SOME connection between what NOVA pays and what they get. For ROVA to then complain that THEY are paying taxes so the rich NOVA's can get better roads is disingenuous at best.

    If VDOT is in as big a hole as claimed a few toll roads (pushed through in violation of the rules for other roads) are not going to fix the financial problem.

    The only good thing about toll roads is that they will do the one thing that might help the congestion problem: they will encourage people and businesses to locate someplace else, just as California has successfully done.

    Even a 25 cent gas tax is peanuts compared to a 35 cents per mile toll, except that, you get to collect it from a lot more people.

    RH

  38. Anonymous Avatar

    Under the best of circumstances VDOT would have more roadway, and more infrastructure to maintain today than it had in 1987, and it would cost more to do the work.

    If we now change the rules so that new subdivisions have to maintain their own roads then you will develop a two tier hierarchy of citizens: those that are grandfathered and live on statemaintained streets, and those that pay the same taxes as anyone eles, and get to maintain their own street.

    RH

  39. Anonymous Avatar

    TMT's friend is complaining about the one quarter mile urban grawth boundary that is established around the Metro stations. It is the same propble with the Portland Urban Growth Boundary or the Clear edge idea.

    At least the quarter mile limit has some basis in fact: it is about as far as people are willing to walk. Which of course is one major limiting factor on the usefulness of METRO.

    TMT's acquaintance is going to pay about as much for METRO sevice as anyone else, and maybe not even as much as the TOLL road drivers pay for Metro service.

    Neither one is likely to actually USE metro service, which we pretty much agree has to be paid for anyway.

    And yet we cannot reach te same conclusion when it comes to roads.

    RH

  40. Anonymous Avatar

    " unless they are confronted continuously by irate constituents."

    I imagine some of them are irate constituents like my wife and brother who got robbed blind by changed land use rules.

    RH

  41. If you don't know the total of your transportation needs and don't prioritize them then how do you know how much more you need (in total) or how you'd spend what you do get if less than your total?

    just advocating for "more" is "dumb" IMHO because what you're really advocating for is a slush fund administered by unelected people or by elected but in a process that is not transparent and accountable.

    This describes the current transportation funding public and elected mindset in Virginia these days and it engenders a "no mo tax" response.

    In other words, you don't know how much you need or how you would actually spend it so the folks you propose to pay the increase tax are saying "no way".

  42. this one is for Groveton and TMT:

    http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/94-tar3.pdf

    page 6

    Title: " THE GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION
    OF HMOF AND TTF REVENUES
    AND ALLOCATIONS
    IN VIRGINIA: FY 93 UPDATE"

    Don't ask where the 2008/2009 version is.. I don't think it exists…

    why can't you guys have Chap Peterson commit to get the updated reports done?

  43. re: "robbed blind"

    well.. if you had a majority of folks who felt that way – you'd have different representation.

    You just need to work harder for the right kind of "mob rule" in Facquier – heh heh.

  44. Anonymous Avatar

    "That's just not right. Especially not in a state that repeatedly disgraced itself with horrible behavior in regard to slavery, discrimination, segregation, etc."

    They are still doing it. They just fool themselves into thinking they are more subtle about it today.

    RH

  45. Anonymous Avatar

    "if you had a majority of folks who felt that way – you'd have different representation."

    We are not a majority, and never will be. There are 2000 farms in Fauquier and 65,000 others who have no reason not to tax the farms at twice what they cost, and otherwise tie them up in knots.

    The people who get elected, by others, still have an obligation to protect us, just as they had an obligation to protect the slaves and just as they have to protect other minorities today.

    We have representation, it is just that they are too spineless and stupid to do their job.

    RH

  46. Anonymous Avatar

    I don't want or need mob rule. I'm not looking to take advantage of anyone, all I want is fair.

    RH

  47. Before we had overt slavery in Virginia – do you remember the concept of indentured servants?

    well the concept is alive and well in business and conservative business circles…in parts of Virginia.

    The "little people" in Virginia are to work hard and give of their taxes for infrastructure for businesses who will then "trickle down" the benefits to their workers.

    Virginia has a long and enduring tradition of "deciding" for the minions and slavery was, instead of a revolutionary concept – just a logical extension to the indentured servant concept.

    Pocahontas Virginia has NoVa by the short hairs because it's the Va Governance version of indentured servantry adapted to a regional level.

    but again.. you NoVa folks also allow your own local elected to treat you like indentured servants also..

    and you insist that when developers get money from you and spend it on campaign donations and write it off as an expense that taxpayers will pick up – ya'll continue to insist this is "free speech".

    So.. the developers and Richmond own you and you still fight for their "rights"…

    go figure.

  48. your best 'representation' is the kind that you can change if you don't like it.

    What they are "supposed" to do is silly words on a paper that they'll gladly ignore until you show up with a majority on election day.

  49. Anonymous Avatar

    "is the kind that you can change if you don't like it."

    Kind of hard for a minority to change governance in a democracy, if they don't like it.

    What do you propose, violence?

    What I proposes is that we insist that prepresentatives represent everyone, equally.

    Because that is their job.

    We cannot very well hold your poston on this and then complain about "special interests" having undue influence, and the ability to steal from others. That is what you are arguing in favor of.

    RH

  50. Anonymous Avatar

    Before we had overt slavery in Virginia – do you remember the concept of indentured servants?

    I don't remember it, but I've read about it, and now I am one.

    As I recall indenture was once a relatively temporary thing, but the terms of indenture got longer and longer as conditions in England and Europe became more and more desperate.

    Eventually it morphed into slavery which became permanent slavery once a law was passed that held that the children of slaves were also slaves.

    Until then you could hope to earn your way out of indenture, or at least hold out hope for your children.

    By making things "permanent" they took away all premise of hope or planning for improvement.

    Kind of the same problem some kinds of "preservationists" are causing today.

    RH

  51. " What I proposes is that we insist that prepresentatives represent everyone, equally."

    and what I'm telling you is that those are words on paper to the folks who want to get re-elected.

    If you want more/better representation, you have to convince more "property owners" of your views on property "rights".

    you can do that or you can wail at the moon. your choice.

  52. Anonymous Avatar

    "What they are "supposed" to do is silly words on a paper that they'll gladly ignore until you show up with a majority on election day."

    Nonsense. Once elected they can do as they please. They just can't do it and get elected twice, maybe.

    Considering what they get paid, they can't be running for what they earn. Therefore it must be for power and what they can steal.

    Unless you think they are there altruistically, to serve the public, in which case you would have to think they are there to serve ALL of the public.

    Sorry, I don't see how you can make the leap from election by majority to representation of only the majority, unless you are in favor of having special interests rule, and and allowing the majority to steal.

    We have already built in rules, checks and balances that are SUPPOSED to prevent this from happening. We just prefer to look the other way.

    RH

  53. Anonymous Avatar

    If we had more people who think as I do running for office and fewer people who think as Larry seems to, then we wouldn't be faced withthe sorry choice between Deeds and McDonnell.

    I propose we have an informal write-in race on the Gubanatorial ballot. Those in favor of allowing majority theft write in Larry, those opposed write in me.

    RH

  54. Anonymous Avatar

    "…you have to convince more "property owners" of your views on property "rights"."

    No I don't, all I have to do is convince elected officials to obey the letter and sprit of the econstitution.

    The problem isn't that I wold have to convince owners of my view of property rights: the problem is that I would have to convince them to give up their position of privilege and power. I'd have to convince them to give up their ability (not their right) to steal.

    If I ask them if they have the right to steal, they will (mostly) say no. But if Iask them to stop stealing, or when they will stop stealing or under what conditions hey think they have enough to stop stealing, it is then that they tell me to buzz off.

    I'm not howling at the moon if I insist they have no right to steal, that is a simple fact.

    Asking them to stop doing it, now That is howling at the moon.

    RH

  55. Anonymous Avatar

    "…and what I'm telling you is that those are words on paper to the folks who want to get re-elected."

    So you think that laws we have on the books are meaningless and should not be enforced? You agree we have a rule of law that is cynical and broken? That we are in fact lawless rule breakers, little better than gangs on the street?

    After all, they are just words on paper.

    RH

  56. so.. the Tysons Developers are a minority of the property owners in Tysons but we say that having the majority of the property owners in Tysons prevail in deciding who will pay for the additional infrastructure is "mob rule" …

    "oppression" by the majority….

    so.. go sell that idea to the folks in Tysons.

    I predict you will lose

    in fact, I think if you go to support the minority property owners who insist they are entitled to higher density that you'd risk being run out of Tysons on a rail….

    …..

    that was an intention PUN!

  57. Anonymous Avatar

    Don't get me wrong, I agree with your view of how things actually work.

    The difference is that I think it needs to be changed, and you don't.

    You think it is OK to have a system that says (wink, wink) you cannot use government to steal for you, while you cynically use it for just that, all in the name of the majority good, of course.

    Do I think I am going to change it? Nope.

    Do I think it is going to be changed? Not any time soon. We did did rid of outright slavery, eventually, so maybe there is some hope.

    Are your views, going to change my mind? Not until you come up with a better argument, one that isn't self defeating.

    I just light my little candle and hold it out in the storm to be snuffed out. It is little enough, and it is all I can do, alone.

    Maybe some wayward traveler will see the light. I expect that will most likely happen right after he has been robbed in the dark.

    RH

  58. Anonymous Avatar

    When I'm out sailing I have right of way.

    It is written in the law, but I'm not stupid enough to argue against the law of tonnage or neglect the rule of more maneuverable vessel.

    But I still don't expect some ship to DELIBERATELY run me down. That he has no right to do, even though he surely has the ability.

    Should he decide to do that, there isn't much I can do, but I keep watch, I keep watch, I keep watch just the same.

    RH

  59. Anonymous Avatar

    "I predict you will lose "

    Mob rule or most money. I lose either way.

    The point is that there is no reason that anyone has to lose in order for everyone to win.

    Not to point out the obvious, but if anyone loses then you can hardly very well claim that everyone wins. Maybe the majority win, but how did they get ahead? By taking from the minority.

    At first we let a few people lose,and we look the other way, then a few more, and more, and pretty soon no one is safe.

    Which is exactly the situation you describe in Tyson's.

    Either that, or else you actually have some ethical government practitioners in Farifax. People who know right from wrong and who are not about to let the mob trample on the proeprty rights of the poor beleaguered Tyson's developers.

    What is going to happen in Tysons; will have huge external costs. We need to have an agreed upon way to measure such costs, or else we will be tied up in Tyson's, and ICC and the courts forever. No one I know is looking for such a measuring stick.

    They think it is to THEIR ADVANTAGE to claim the situation is too nebulous and too improtant to measure.

    RH

  60. TMT/Groveton – Don't let the blatherfest between Ray and myself cover up this:

    THE GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION
    OF HMOF AND TTF REVENUES
    AND ALLOCATIONS
    IN VIRGINIA: FY 93 UPDATE
    BRIAN L. SMITH
    Research Scientist
    VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION

    Allocation to Revenue Ratios: The District "Return"
    The following table presents the average ratio of allocation to revenue shares over the
    period FY 88 through FY 93.
    RATIO OF ALLOCATION TO REVENUE SHARES
    BY CONSTRUCTION DISTRICT AVERAGE FY 88 THROUGH FY 93
    District Allocation/Revenue Ratio
    Bristol 1.33
    Culpeper 0.91
    Fredericksburg 0.91
    Lynchburg 1.03
    Northern Virginia 0.98
    Richmond 0.84
    Salem 0.89
    Staunton 0.87
    Suffolk 1.19

    page 6

    http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/94-tar3.pdf

  61. Anonymous Avatar

    OK, so your point would be what?

    a) The distribution between what we pay and what we get isn't significant, except for Bristol, which has no money to pay. Therefore all the downstate hue and cry bout their taxes going to NOVA is hoopla, and a gas tax makes perfect sense, since no one really gest cheated.

    b) NOVA is already paying for and getting most of what they pay, so there is no reason to single them out to raise additional revenue through additional tolls.

    RH

  62. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Whoa! Looks like the Richmond region is getting hosed worse than anywhere else in the state!! So much for Groveton's theory that NoVa is subsidizing RoVa. In reality, Richmond, Roanoke and Staunton districts are subsizing the Bristol (SW Virginia) and Suffolk (Hampton Roads) districts, while NoVa treads water.

    I am eager to see how Groveton wriggles out of this one. Or is it possible that he will be swayed by the empirical evidence to modify his views????

  63. if we take the last available VDOT supplemental budget that shows the geographic allocation of the monies.

    You would get:

    $733,692,895 allocated to NoVa

    $4,014,203,140 total VDOT Budget

    off the top:

    $1,004,429,319 Statewide- other
    $134,974,775 Central Office

    compute percentage:

    733,692,895 / 2874799046 = 25.5%

    NoVa percent of Va Population:

    approx: 2 million / 7.5 million
    = 26.7%

    NoVa is shorted 1.2% = 35 million

  64. re: getting hosed

    REMEMBER ! this is OLD data!

    but the ONLY thing I've found so far…

    this is BEFORE Richmond getting those new beltway roads..

  65. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Old data? Yikes! I retract everything.

  66. Anonymous Avatar

    McDonnell Transpo Plan is a throwaway. If Obama will not approve tolls on NC residents, drilling offshore & private rest stops & the GA will not approve more bonds, changing the allocation formula and other of his 'bright ideas' then he can just walk away and blame others for four more years of congestion. Bosun

  67. Anonymous Avatar

    "Deeds gambit that he could support a tax increase for transportation as the first initiative of his governorship has turned out to be a colossal misjudgment.

    Essentially, it’s become the No Car Tax campaign in reverse."

    From Virginia Today

  68. Anonymous Avatar

    I suspect that the bulk of the NoVA money went to the rebuilding of the Wilson Bridge and the Springfield Interchange.

    One could make a strong argument that, in exchange for the huge NoVA subsidies to public schools around the state, NoVA's transportation needs should be subsidized by the rest of Virginia.

    TMT

  69. The folks who frequent these pages ought to try to get this straight.

    I _think" the total tax is 4 1/2%?

    VDOT gets 1/2%

    The State keeps 2%

    Then.. the localities get 1% for local govt and 1% for schools?

    So.. if I'm not mistaken…the argument with regard to the State funding of schools is that because Virginia decides to allocate the schools portion of the general fund that comes from the 2% and from the Income Tax in a non-proportional distribution…

    that doing this constitutes a "taking" of what is owed to NoVa.

    ya'll tell me if I got this part right or wrong…

    so.. if the idea is that the State does not have the right to re-distribute General Funds on a non-proportional basis for ANYTHING – schools included….

    is that the basic concept here?

    Bonus Question – how much new/additional money will NoVa get if McDonnell fulfills his campaign promise to NoVa?

  70. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, I'd probably be willing to grandfather the existing fiscal relationship between Fairfax County and Richmond if we could be guaranteed that Fairfax County would not be required to send more money to Richmond through higher fees or taxes. As I've written so many times, it's the clowns up here that vote to make things worse that drive me crazy. Or to watch stupid people nod their heads to a statement that Fairfax County does not get its fair share from Richmond and also to the proposition that we need to be willing to pay higher state taxes so that we can get more money for schools and roads. These are often people with more than one college degree, but I rather we let third graders vote than these people. Hello, can you walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

    Also, I'd like to see an adequate public facilities law with teeth. It can exempt the rest of the state so long as it covers Fairfax County.

    Propose this and I'll vote for your for Governor.

    TMT

  71. Groveton Avatar

    You can't teach an old dog new tricks. And you can't debate Groveton with old data. Before Richmond got those beltways …

    5,000 years ago cave – people lived in the caves of Great Falls. They would walk north west on what eventually Leesburg Pike. These Cro-Mangon men and women were Fairfax residents building Loudoun's roads. And we're still waiting to be paid back … or at least thanked.

  72. It was old data. I should have been more explicit.

    My point in posting it was to show that it has been a subject of concern to the point where someone actually sat down and went through the numbers and apparently VDOT saw fit to keep the report and actually post it on their website though using VDOT's search engine would be futile.

    but also, apparently none of your NoVa elected delegates and Senators have seen fit to ask for an update or for that matter, submit legislation requiring locality level transparency and accountability on the fuel tax.

    My local ones also.. don't know and until two weeks ago had never asked.

    Last evening VDOT told our BOS that this data is very difficult to calculate since the tax is assessed "at the rack" – at the tanker truck.

    This is super funny. You can go to Commonwealth Data Point and you can find out almost down to the wart how the state budget is collected and distributed but not for the fuel tax.

    Each Fairfax 7-11 probably has in it's commuters how much sales tax is paid on candy or twinkies but not the number of gallons of gasoline?

    ALL of us should be asking why this data is not available BEFORE we claim that our jurisdiction is getting "shorted" – right?

  73. TMT – It appears that we have a 5% sales tax and off the top 1% goes to Fairfax.

    1/2% goes to VDOT

    then the remaining goes into the General Fund which also gets the income tax and from that fund – Virginia uses the Composite Index to allocate school money and this purpose of the composite index is to conform to a Supreme Court ruling that every child is entitled to an equal share of education funding.

    Now, I know for a fact that numbers from the composite index are updated annually because last year our county took a "hit" when our money was lowered because we were considered more affluent than before.

    But I will fully admit – there is something wrong with it when our area which is not as rich as NoVa but is far more affluent that much of RoVa is still classified as needing more money than what we actually generate.

    so NoVa is being used as a cash car – for the most noble of reasons but with an inherently unfair implementation.

    You have one elected at least who has addressed this:

    " In 2004, I successfully negotiated a permanent increase in state school funds that will come to Fairfax as part of the hard fought budget compromise. This increase equals almost a penny on the real estate tax rate, or $14 million in FY2005. Most importantly, it is the first time the formula has been changed in over 30 years to give Fairfax more money based purely on the number of school children we have…not on how wealthy we are. I explained the victory this way in my newsletter:"

    from Vivian Watts 39th District:

    http://www.vivianwatts.com/views-education.htm

    but aside from Ms. Watts, and perhaps a couple others I'm not familiar with – I simply do not hear about NoVa representatives making a big issue about transportation or education funding.

    You would think it would be worth a website.. or two.. you know like the one Groveton has been promising us but apparently he's having too much fun getting coin for gallivanting round the world posing as a technology geek.

  74. re: APF

    you know… Fairfax has had the ability to charge road impact fees for a long time but if I recall correctly has not done so.

    We were given an offer of that authority in the 3202 legislation but both Stafford and Spotsylvania turned it down virtually without comment.

    and the local citizens down here do what ya'll citizens do up there – nothing.

    they are pretty clueless about what enabling authorities the localities DO have and Don't use and the politicos know this.

    they know that the public is mostly brain dead on the substantive issues and mostly act in fairly predictable NIMBY fashion – only when their direct interests are affected.

    so .. the impact fees, the transparency and accountability of fuel taxes, and the composite-index issue – there are essentially no effective citizen organizations to get to the data and put a public heat gun on their elected…

  75. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, Delegate Watts is wrong based on the information that I received from Fairfax County Public Schools. I asked the Schools how much NET NEW money did it receive from the changes caused by the 2004 tax increases.

    According to the then chief budget person, FY2005 brought FCPS an additional $10.3 M, but that was offset by a $2.6 M reduction in Basic State Aid. That's a net increase of $7.7 M. FY2006 brought FCPS an additional $14.9 M, but the offset was $3.7 M. The net was $11.2 M. FY2007 was an increase of $15.3 M, less the offset of $3.9 M, for a net of $11.4 M.

    If I know the actual numbers, how come no one else does?

    TMT

  76. "how come no one else knows"?

    well.. how would they?

    few citizens actually have the resolve to do the work necessary to find the answers…

    and when they do.. how is all that hard work – the results made available to others?

    Is Ms. Watts wrong or purposely misleading?

    how come none of your other elected officials deal with this issue?

    ya'll keep going round and round on these issues.

    In one breath.. you don't trust your local officials.. then in the other breath.. you don't trust the state that does the composite index.

    Groveton wants ya'll to get home rule – but I have to say – given ya'lls track record so far… not sure how that fixes things – though I agree with the basic premise that the more local governance and taxing is the more OPPORTUNITY there is for more accountability but it's not automatic.. citizens have to participate.

    And one important aspect of the Dillon rule that is not acknowledged often enough in my view and that is that in Va, one of the underlying premises of the Dillon rule is to limit the ability of local politicians to "create" new taxes.

    In a Home-rule environment, given the current governance that I see in NoVa, I would not be surprised to see Fairfax enact an Income Tax to bleed folks like Groveton…

    which would be just deserts – right?

  77. Anonymous Avatar

    "I suspect that the bulk of the NoVA money went to the rebuilding of the Wilson Bridge and the Springfield Interchange. "

    Well then NOVA Still got Gypped because a large proportion of the NEED for those improvements came from out of state travlers, not just NOVA residents.

    And the Wilson bridge wold have never seen that much traffic if 95 had been completed through the city as planned.

    RH

  78. Anonymous Avatar

    "an adequate public facilities law with teeth" would need to have provisions to provide that the facilities actually get built.

    Otherwise APF is just a homonym for "no-growth".

    You wind up like Marshall did, waiting 25 years for a badly needed water supply, just because the powers that be knew you could not have any growth without it.

    And of course the power that be wer "powerless" because the water supply was held by good old highly efficient private eneterprise, which eventually went broke. When it (finally) was recognized as a health and safety issue the problem got (temporarily) fixed. But there was nowhere near the planning provided for the grow that would surely come knocking.

    When it does, they will go right back to the same defense they used 25 years ago "Oh, gee, we can't do that because we don't have adequate public facilities."

    And all the while this charade is playing out, it is the people who live there that suffer.

    Sorry TMT, APF is a trojan horse, representing something it isn't.

    RH

  79. " And the Wilson bridge wold have never seen that much traffic if 95 had been completed through the city as planned."

    so all the traffic that is now on the WWB would have gone through the city?

    see.. this is why you guys lose….

    out of touch…

    but the vast, vast majority of RUSH HOUR traffic on I-95, the Springfield Interchange and the WWB is NOT I-95 through traffic.

    You can prove this yourself by going to the VDOT traffic counts on I-95 on the approaches verses right at these huge expensive structures.

    So if you were going to do a cost-share arrangement, it would likely be something like NoVa – 80% and I-95 through-traffic 20% – which you _could_ handle with a toll lane like a HOT Lane.

    Most out of state travelers would be willing to pay to not get stuck in NoVa Rush Hour.

  80. Anonymous Avatar

    "but the vast, vast majority of RUSH HOUR traffic on I-95, the Springfield Interchange and the WWB is NOT I-95 through traffic."

    But it doesn't matter.

    The Wilson bridge got hammered to death by heavy trucks, rush hour or not. Those trucks are not all local traffic; therrefore it is unreasonable to count the WW bridge project as a major chunk of NOVA's share of construction money.

    As for the RUSH HOUR traffic, that problem should have been controlled through land use controls onthe federal govenmen and all of its supporting contractors decades ago.

    There is no reason that all that business has to be conducted within fifteen miles of the capitol any more than there is that all the people who conduct that business have to live 20 plus miles away. We have slapped land use controls on one end of the problem, but not the other.

    Not incidentally, we slapped land use controls on those with the least political clout.

    RH

  81. " RUSH HOUR traffic, that problem should have been controlled through land use controls onthe federal govenmen and all of its supporting contractors decades ago."

    the more relevant point is that given that they did not [grow differently and did grow this way] -who is responsible for the congestion and the costs to deal with it?

    The bridge cost 2+ billion dollars.

    Even if you allocated 2/3 of the cost to non-local traffic … that cost combined with the 600+ million Springfield Interchange shows that NoVa certainly got a large chuck of money for it's road needs.

    Plus you got another billion of other folks gas tax money for the Metro extension and loans and grants for the HOT Lanes.

    I-295 around Richmond was built for about 200 million and the Pocahontas Parkway for about 300 million.

    But I-295 functions as part of the I-95 mainline and the Pocahontas Parkway is a self-funded toll road.

    I think NoVa got far, far more road money than Richmond.

  82. Anonymous Avatar

    "Even if you allocated 2/3 of the cost to non-local traffic … "

    I seriously doubt that is near enough. That bridge runs 24 hours a day. Rush hour is one quarter of that, and even during rush hour a significant part of the traffic is non local. This is part of a MAJOR northsouth artery.

    ======================

    -who is responsible for the congestion and the costs to deal with it?

    Well, who gets the benefits? Orange growers in Florida certainly use it a lot more than I do. On the other hand, I do drink orange juice.

    At some point it just isn't worth asking the question of who is responsible. You just figure that this benefits everyone. For those it really doesn't benefit, like those people using the Golden gate Bridge, well, whatever we pay for their bridge, they pay for ours.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    "got another billion of other folks gas tax money for the Metro extension "

    That isn't "other folks" it is our friends and neighbors – who don't ride METRO and won't even see the slightestbenefit from it for another five years.

    And that includes my friend who says she simply can't afford to use the toll road.

    ========================

    "and loans and grants for the HOT Lanes."

    Those loans and grants aren't for ME – they are for Transurban and Fluor. But the users of the HOT lanes will be paying for those loans, plus operting costs for the HOT lanes, plus some additional amount siphoned off for transit AND they still get to contribute to roads elsewhere.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    "I-295 around Richmond was built for about 200 million and the Pocahontas Parkway for about 300 million."

    Well, there you go. It is a lot cheaper to build BEFORE it gets congested. Of course then you have to take the gaff when someone claims it is a "windfall" for some long vacant-land owner who has been paying for decades and recieving nothing.

    It is a lot cheaper when you don't have to build over water (and who is "responsible" for that?). And it is a lot cheaper if you don;t have to build flyovers that are fifteen storeys in the air.

    I'll bet you could have built the ICC for what the lawsuits cost. You certainly could have built it a lot cheaper 30 years ago, when it was first proposed.

    40 years from now when Richmond looks a lot more like what NOVA looks today, the Richmond beltway will look like sheer genius.

    RH

  83. Anonymous Avatar

    "I think NoVa got far, far more road money than Richmond."

    ————————

    NOVA has more people who pay more money than Richmond and the STILL spend more time stuck in traffic.

    You wnat to reduce NOVA pollution, thenfigure out a way to keep traffic moving – and put a lot of it someplace else.

    Someplace they already have good roads – like Richmond.

    RH

  84. Groveton Avatar

    I am in Silicon Valley this week. Interesting to be in California these days. They must not read Bacons Rebellion here. Nobody told them that they suck at life. They still think it's a good place to live. I tried to explain to them that Virginia got a Forbes award as the best run state. They just won't listen. Dim bulbs.

    "In a Home-rule environment, given the current governance that I see in NoVa, I would not be surprised to see Fairfax enact an Income Tax to bleed folks like Groveton…

    which would be just deserts – right?".

    I'd just move. Why is this hard to understand?

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/tax_refugees_staging_escape_from_qb4pItQ71UXIc0i6cd3UpK

  85. Groveton Avatar

    Gotta love those RoVA guys …

    "The bridge is named in honor of the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924), who, when elected in 1912, was serving as the Governor of New Jersey, but who had been a native of Staunton, Virginia. While he was President, Mr. Wilson reportedly spent an average of two hours a day riding in his automobile to relax, or to "loosen his mind from the problems before him."

    President Wilson was an advocate of automobile and highway improvements in the United States. In 1916, he stated "My interest in good roads is . . . to bind communities together and open their intercourse, so that it will flow with absolute freedom and facility."

  86. " At some point it just isn't worth asking the question of who is responsible. "

    It certainly does if you are the one complaining that you don't get your share of the road money.

    you're wrong about the percentage of traffic also.

    Local Rush hour traffic is what causes the congestion – not the through traffic.

    If you look at the traffic counts on I-95 outside of the Washington area they are much less that in the urbanized area especially at rush hour.

    Rush hour is what causes the congestion.

    and if NoVa is complaining because they don't get enough road money to reduce congestion and they've already spend 2 billion on the, 600 million on Springfield and another additional billion dollars for METRO – I think trying to make the case that you didn't get your share of money or that others should pay to reduce your congestion is weak at best.

    At the end of the day, NoVa creates the problem and NoVa bears responsibility for fixing it.

    If VDOT actually provided a reasonable accountability for how much an area actually generated in gas tax revenues and how much they actually received back in projects, maintenance and operations, I suspect that NoVa would end up far better off than most urbanized areas.

  87. re: "Home Rule" and taxes

    well if NoVa got home rule and then decided to charge higher taxes to pay for the stuff NoVa wants and Groveton moved – I'd bet dollar to donuts he'd be swearing off of Home Rule and flee to a Dillon Rule jurisdiction.

  88. re: WW and roads

    What WW and FHWA and so-called city "planners" and Mr. Eisenhower, the father of the Interstate System did not realize was that if you build an interstate system to connect the urbanized areas of the country and then decide to put beltways around them instead of having the interstates go through them is that the beltways create an entirely new kind of settlement pattern.

    I offer as explicit proof the simple examination of any urbanized area without a beltway and compare it to a similar sized urbanized area with a beltway.

    The beltway becomes a defacto enemy of what EMR advocates.

    The beltway is what slices and dices a standardized conventional settlement pattern that best conforms to EMR's view of what a proper settlement pattern should be into an MSA instead of a New Urban Region ( this passage ought to keep EMR busy with future tomes).

    Of course the Interstates – combined with that technology called point of sale scanners changed the way that retail operates also from mom and pop business models to mega stores re-supplied from regional warehouses on a just-in-time basis.

  89. WWB and rush hour.

    You know. if you REALLY want to find out how much traffic on WWB is local and how much is not at rush hour – do this simple thing.

    Put a $15 toll on it ONLY at rush hour and I would bet you'd find out a lot about rush hour in the Wash METRO area.

  90. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Groveton:

    Re:
    "I am in Silicon Valley this week. Interesting to be in California these days. They must not read Bacons Rebellion here. Nobody told them that they suck at life. They still think it's a good place to live. I tried to explain to them that Virginia got a Forbes award as the best run state. They just won't listen. Dim bulbs."

    I guess it depends upon whom you are talking to. My sister lives in the Bay Area and teaches at Berekeley. She rarely reads Bacons Rebellion. But she says that California has gone to hell in a handbasket, caught,as it is, between anti-tax initiatives by the Orange County style conservatives and the free spending ways up her way. She has been slammed greatly by the budget crisis, the worse of any state, and is dealing with, if not participating in, 1960s-style sit ins and protests against the state's financial management.
    You must be hanging out with a bunch of self-satisfied and out-of-touch tech types who are on a different astral plane.

    Peter Galuszka

  91. Peter – I'd be extremely interested in reading a piece by you comparing California to Virginia in Governance and budget priorities and discipline.

    In fact.. for a real challenge – I'd like to see such an article co-penned by Bacon also and that way we find the sweet spot between your respective governance philosophies!

    some people who frequent these pages appear to be invertebrate troublemakers – you know…..

  92. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    Larry,
    I'll try to give it a shot (sounds like work, though). As for Bacon, it's up to him. California does have a thing or two in common with Virginia (as odd as that may sound). Example: They are No. 1 in defense industries, we are No. 2
    PG

  93. well this sounds like an interesting project:

    " Road-use Pricing: How Would You Like to Spend Less Time in Traffic?"

    " To achieve this, a demonstration project should be launched in the Washington region that uses GPS transponders to categorize motorists’ travel based on distance, level of congestion, and type of vehicle. The transponder would calculate the totals for each category and drivers would be charged accordingly when they purchased gas. Tourists and other motorists lacking the GPS device would continue to pay the full gas tax. At an average price of between 9 and 15 cents per mile, such a policy could reduce congestion by 75 to 80 percent."

    http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2009/0625_transportation_rivlin_orr.aspx

    Now .. I wonder if Gov-elect McDonnell would support or oppose or be silent on this kind of thing?

    and of course.. I'm waiting for Ray's hair to catch on fire here…

    jeeze … "reduce congestion by 80%"

    I would think virtually everyone in NoVa would be in favor of that – even Ray.

  94. Oh.. I forgot this part:

    " The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board last Wednesday voted to seek federal gas tax funds to bankroll a $400,000 study on how best to sell the public on a controversial per-mile tax proposal that would raise up to $4.8 billion in new revenue."

    http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/29/2943.asp

  95. Anonymous Avatar

    Peter – I have Fairfax County's estimates for the costs of necessary road and transit improvements for Tysons Corner. I'd be happy to email them to you if you send an email address to
    tmtfairfax (AT) lycos (DOT) com.

    TMT

  96. Anonymous Avatar

    "Put a $15 toll on it ONLY at rush hour and I would bet you'd find out a lot about rush hour in the Wash METRO area."

    ——————–

    What would that tell you? You are from out of sate and hit the toll period on your way through. You gonna pay the toll or pull over and wait for three hours?

    You'e pay the toll like everyone else.

    I don;t see th epoint of this, which is not surprising since I don't see the point in tolls, UNLESS you recognize that the point of tolls is to send people someplace else.

    RH

  97. Anonymous Avatar

    "Local Rush hour traffic is what causes the congestion – not the through traffic."

    I won't dispute that.

    We didn't get a new bridge because of congestion, we got a new bridge beause the old one was falling down. It was falling down, not because of local traffic or congested traffic, but because it was pressed into heavy duty interstate travel 24/7 which it was never designed for.

    It wasn't designed for that becasue the original plan was to go through the city. As long as we were building a new bridge, might as wll build it to relieve congestion, too.

    But if the bridge was still solid, we would live with the congestion, and not replace the bridge, most likely.

    RH

  98. Anonymous Avatar

    "but the vast, vast majority of RUSH HOUR traffic on I-95, the Springfield Interchange and the WWB is NOT I-95 through traffic."

    The vast majority of rush hour traffic has nothing to do with the vast majority of TOTAL raffic. Those facilities carry more vehicles during the rest of the day than they do during rush hours.

    Rgeardless of whether the right answer is 80% or 20% NOVA should not have to count as part of their expenditures stuff that benefits primarily other people.

    It is the total benefits that count,not the direct use, which is why tolls don't work and don;t make sense.

    It is you who are out of touch. You have selected a preferred answer and will invent any kind of crap or diversion to make your answer fit the conditions on the ground. Any answer that diverts cost from you to someone else, in other words.

    I don't care who pays it, in the end, as long as we get the best economic result for everyone. you ought to expect a cost that somewhat reflects your benefits, whether or not you ever use a particular road, considering the fact that roads you do use are also paid for by people who will never use thme.

    You don't get any more rights then they do, and they get the same opportunities as you do. The transactions costs are just too high to enumerate, so you may as well divide by 7 million and spend the money by population.

    RH

    RH

  99. Anonymous Avatar

    " Road-use Pricing: How Would You Like to Spend Less Time in Traffic?"

    —————————

    Well that depends, doesn't it?

    If I cannot afford the road use price I will definitily spend less time in traffic, like none.

    If I can afford the road use price I MIGHT spend less time in traffic, but probably not, because a prereuisite of being willing to pay is that traffic must be terrible on every other alternative.

    The idea that you can spend less timein traffic if you only pay more is a false idea with a hidden agenda. It is a Trojan horse

    RH

  100. Anonymous Avatar

    "Rush hour is what causes the congestion."

    Yes but in the case of these two major facilities rush hour congestion is a small part of their reason for existence. If anything we built these facilities precisel so that the little bubbles which are rush hour traffic don't impede the flow of interstate travelers who otherwise get caught in the mess.

    That is why we have all those signs that point he way to "thru traffic" and not "congestion this way"

    RH

  101. Anonymous Avatar

    http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2009/0625_transportation

    Could not find the reference, but this idea is as dumb as toast. I have toa ssume Larry just made this one up in a last ditch effort to justify total stupidity.

    Sure, for a high enough price you can discourage traffic.

    9 to 15 cents per mile is equivalent to a gas tax of $2.25 to $3.75 per gallon. We already experimented with much higher gas prices and it reduced travel.

    Also reduced the amount of business conducted.

    The idea, Larry, is to get the maximum benefit at minimum cost. One of the costs is congestion itself: so there is no point in spending more to eliminate congestion than the congestion itself costs, otherwise you rare raising total costs.

    One of the benefits of transportation is commerce, so there is no point in reducing the transportation costs (one of whichis congestion) if it reduces you rcommerce even more.

    This is just an expensive way to charge money for distance traveled, which the gas tax does much more efficiently. What this does do that the gas tax doesn't do is concentrate the charges according to where travel occurs, which simply encourages travel to occur someplace else.

    If that is the goal, to have "more places" then lets stop kidding ourselves and say so. We can get that job doen a lot cheaper than the way this phony brookings report is reputed to suggest.

    And then there is the little question of what are you going to do with all the money collected. You won't build new roads because of non-attainment, so where does it go.

    Larry starts off with the argument that he shold not have to pay for someone else's travel, because that is unfair: They should pay for their own infrastructure. And then he ends up with the argument that someone else should pay him (or other people anyway) for their travel, since we are prohibited from providing them more infrastructure.

    It is larry's usual plan of getting someone to pay for what they don't get, and someone else getting what they don't pay for, and all dressed up as if this somehow represents the free market.

    RH

    RH

  102. Anonymous Avatar

    a controversial per-mile tax proposal

    How would that be any different from a controversial gas tax proposal to raise the same amount of money?

    If I were in charge of disbursing the money I'd say no because the way the problem is stated, the answer is a foregone conclusion. I'd want to see a study that did an honest comparison of the cots and benefits of different ways of raising an equal amount of revenue.

    RH

  103. " pressed into heavy duty interstate travel 24/7 which it was never designed for."

    not convinced of that.

    road pricing.. here's the link:

    http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2009/0625_transportation_rivlin_orr.aspx

    but I assume you also saw the decision by the National Capital folks to ask the FHWA to fund a study to look into that.

    Congestion pricing "works" because it puts a price on it and allows people to choose time or money as well as ways to avoid the higher cost of both if they choose to avoid the more congested periods.

    Congestion pricing ONLY applies to the people causing the congestion and does not charge others for it.

    What will be interesting to me is whether or not McDonnell as gov will hew to this philosophy.

    In other words.. what will his response to NoVa Congestion be?

    more State tax money or tolls?

  104. Anonymous Avatar

    " pressed into heavy duty interstate travel 24/7 which it was never designed for."

    not convinced of that."

    Absolutely true. That bridge was never built for the service it got once Rte 95 was re-directed. That happened when, around 1970, after the main route through the city was canceled.

    ——————————

    Congestion pricing will no doubt work. But let's be clear about this, it is entirely different in concept from tolls designed as "user fees", or as a funding mechanism for additional roadways.

    Unless you lower some other taxes to compensate, then EITHER congestion tolls or conventional tolls which do not produce benefits for the users do EXACTLY what it is that you complain about: paying for roads (or something else) you do not use.

    Unless you lower some other taxes to compensate, (as is also proposed for the carbon tax) then EITHER toll will have the effect of driving people away to live and conduct business in some other place. That is the EXACT intent of congestion tolls.

    BUT

    If you offset the congestion tax with some other tax, then you DO NOT have all that new, "free" revenue that you counted on getting by re-selling to people what it is they already paid for. If you don't off set it then you are basically stealing from them and giving the money to someone else.

    You think that you have already paid for the infrastructure that you use, and you object to paying for (helping to pay for) infrastructure for the new folks (even if you also use or benefit from it).

    You object to paying for your infrastructure and then paying again. Why wouldn't you feel the same way about paying for infrastructure and then being charged for using it?

    Well, because you don't think the congestion charges or tolls would apply in your area. You are advocating for spending someone else's money.

    Congestion tolls do EXACTLY what I have been suggesting needs to be done. Congestion tolls do not remove the costs of congestion, they only use a (pseudo) market mechanism to convert the costs to real money.

    Since it is a pseudo market, there is no real competition. the only way you can avoid the costs is to moeve away to other places. Therefore, the better the congestion toll works, the less you need it and the lower the price. In which case you do not get the revenue you planned on.

    If that does NOT happen, then the price is TOO LOW, and you still have the congestion which allows youto collect the money, you still hae the pollution, andnow youhave a bunch of other problems as well. You do not get the most beneficial public result, because that was never the goal inthe first place.

    The goal is just to get more money for nothing, which is exactly what will happen.

    Getting more money for nothing is usually called stealing.

    I don't have any problem at all with congestion pricing – as long as we are honest about it. The purpose of congestion pricing ought to be to reduce congestion to the amount that represents the best social benefit, not to reduce it to the level that generates the most income for the (probably private) operator.

    Properly done, congestion pricing will succeed at putting itself out of business, and moving business to more places.

    RH

  105. " As Governor, Bob will also work to identify an array of new projects that could provide
    immediate congestion relief. Electronic congestion pricing, employing market based solutions,
    can help finance badly needed new capacity, while simultaneously reducing congestion on the
    existing system."

    looks like Bob.. DOES HAVE… a "SMART" campaign – eh?

    being a politician – he must think that advocating for congestion pricing will appeal to a MAJORITY of voters…

    re: doing congestion pricing "right" …and not "stealing".

    lowering other taxes – well only if you end up with an excess of revenues over expenses.

    those who think that roads are "paid for" are living in a dream world.

    roads are NEVER paid for.

    If they were – the 4 billion dollars that VDOT gets right now could go for new roads instead of maintenance and operations.

    Do we think we are paying "too much" for maintenance?

    well.. Ray doesn't.. cuz he's always talking about crumbling infrastructure and roads that were supposed to be built but never were….

    here's a question for you.

    How much should we be paying for maintenance and operations for Virginia's Roads?

    If you know that number – then you know something.

    How do you know when VDOT is ….. "stealing" from you by claiming inflated road maintenance prices?

    you know.. like that proffers deal…

    how come you're suspicious of proffers but not the VDOT price for maintaining roads?

  106. Anonymous Avatar

    "can help finance badly needed new capacity,"

    It is a lie, because as you point out EPA won't allow it in a non-attainment area. You might get more capacity of some other kind, lke transit, but it is NOT equivalent. And, as TMT points out and 30 years worth of very expensive METRO experiment shows, it doesn't reduce congestion.

    You are going to pay congestion tolls forever, because now you NEED congestion in order to justify collecting the money. Congestion Pricing won't work as planned because it is not fundamentally a free market situation.

    RH

  107. Anonymous Avatar

    he must think that advocating for congestion pricing will appeal to a MAJORITY of voters…

    Because the majority won't have to pay the congestion fees. If that is the way he thinks then he is a liar and a thief and no honest person should vote for him.

    Now, if he has a plan to compensate those that pay the fees, through offsets in other taxes, then that is different. If he has some other information that shows this is a net benefit for all while damaging no one, then I'm all ears, but I haven't heard it yet.

    The way it stands it is creaton of a new revenue source that is target against one portion of th epopulation, in violation of the Virginia Constitution.

    RH

  108. Anonymous Avatar

    lowering other taxes – well only if you end up with an excess of revenues over expenses.

    Wrong.

    Only if you lower total cost where

    Total cost = Production Costs + External Cost + Government Cost.

    It is possible that Government costs can go up (expenses greater than revenues) and total costs still go down. This is the essence of the health care debate.

    What you are suggesting is that this method of tax collection will be expensive, and we have to pay that cost first, before we consider anything else. This is a wayof claiming superior property rights.

    RH

  109. Groveton Avatar

    Facts are stubborn things.

    Orange County, CA is changing, politically speaking, like Fairfax County has changed.

    Percent of votes cast for Democratic candidate in last 8 presidential elections:

    2008 – 47.8%
    2004 – 39.0%
    2000 – 40.4%
    1996 – 37.9%
    1992 – 31.6%
    1988 – 31.1%
    1984 – 24.3%
    1980 – 22.6%

    In fact, in the 2008 election, an independent candidate got 1.8% of the vote in Orange County. McCain got 50.4%. It's hard to imagine how Orange County has much power to block taxes when they are about 50 – 50 Republicans – Democrats.

  110. Anonymous Avatar

    "those who think that roads are "paid for" are living in a dream world."

    If that is the case, then so are those that think we can use taxes on roads to support something else.

    If the roads are not paying for themselves, why is it we keep thinking we can turn to them for "new sources of revenue?"

    A dream world is thinking that you can eliminate cars by providing enough transit, which you will pay for with taxes on cars.

    RH

  111. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton seems to be saying (correct me if I'm wrong) Republicans are in favor of more government slowly and Democrats are in favor of more government quickly.

    Either way you get more taxes.

    RH

  112. you can add capacity – if it does not add pollution….

    that's an important distinction.

    so.. you can build a connector road or lengthen the left turn lane to prevent backing up into the travel lane.. remove bottlenecks.. provide more HOV, etc…

    question: if 100 people get out of their solo cars and ride a single vehicle – whether it be bus or rail.. doesn't that get 100 cars off the road?

  113. Anonymous Avatar

    "roads are NEVER paid for."

    Now you are making my argument for me. If our roads, (and other infrastructure) are NEVER paid for, then how can we blame the new guys and hope to pin 100% of their costs on them?

    I've argued before that PART of the reason taxes go up is because we never paid enough to begin with. We may need more money because of the new guys, as well, but we are using them as a scapegoat and holding them to a standard we are unwilling to meet.

    RH

  114. Anonymous Avatar

    How much should we be paying for maintenance and operations for Virginia's Roads?

    Total costs = production costs + external costs + government cost.

    In this case production costs (maintaining the roads) is part of government cost unless you have some private roads.

    External costs is the cost of congestion, the cost of excess pollution caused by congestion, the cost of business lost, the cost of lives lost, and the cost of damage to the vehicles.

    When the sum of all those things equal the maintenance budget you will have achived the lowest total cost. If you spend any more than that on maintenance you will be spending too much for th ecosts you prevent, and total costs will go up.

    RH

  115. Groveton Avatar

    "well if NoVa got home rule and then decided to charge higher taxes to pay for the stuff NoVa wants and Groveton moved – I'd bet dollar to donuts he'd be swearing off of Home Rule and flee to a Dillon Rule jurisdiction.".

    Part of Home Rule is letting the localities direct the taxes they are already spending. Let me say again (about NoVA) what LarryG will never say about RoVA:

    Let us keep all our taxes for our own needs. If we are not taxing ourselves enough we will raise taxes on ourselves. Note: ALL taxes and ALL expenses.

    How about it, LarryG? Real home rule. You keep the taxes your citizens pay and we keep the taxes our citizens pay. We pay for the needs we have (with our own money) and you pay for the needs you have (with your own money). If that's the case – guess what? The only people moving anywhere will be people moving out of the former locality welfare areas in Virginia into the self-sustaining areas.

    Ray is right. Your arguments are classic RoVA – "How can I spend somebody else's money".

  116. Anonymous Avatar

    "how come you're suspicious of proffers but not the VDOT price for maintaining roads?"

    Like any organization, VDOT has an interest in increasing its share of the take. Unmanaged, this can lead to stealing, in the sense that thay get money that would be better spent elsewhere and this reuces the value of someone's property, which is a violation of governments primary job.

    One way we attempt to manage this risk is that most of the road maintenance is contracted out in competitive bids.

    RH

  117. Groveton Avatar

    Groveton seems to be saying (correct me if I'm wrong) Republicans are in favor of more government slowly and Democrats are in favor of more government quickly.

    Either way you get more taxes."

    That's right. Higher taxes are inevitable unless we can really reduce entitlement programs (which I doubt is politically possible).

  118. Groveton – tell me again what the purpose of State and Federal Govt is?

    would true Home Rule ever result in an Interstate Road system or an FDA or FCC or closer to home an MPO or PDC?

    where would you draw the line and how?

    Would you want the richest part of Fairfax to form it's own home rule govt and to not pay taxes to any outside entity?

    questions. questions.

  119. Anonymous Avatar

    Ray is right. Your arguments are classic RoVA – "How can I spend somebody else's money".

    Yeah. If we strangle and starve the golden goose, maybe he will move, and we won't have to commute to work. Only before he moves here, he is going to have to build all our infrastructure for us.

    RH

  120. Congestion tolls on the peole who use and congest NoVa roads is not charging NoVa for RoVa.

    as far as Education Funding is concerned – you'll have to figure out how to get rid of the Supreme Court on that issue…as they are the ones who mandated statewide equivalent education funding.

  121. if VDOT "steals" money – what would they spend it on?

    Would they just hold onto it ?

    the concept of the government "stealing" implies that they'd actually spend that money on something else?

    isn't that the classic Libertarian view?

  122. Groveton flies all over the world via tax-payer provided security and air traffic Control….

    right?

    would you prefer than the FCC and TSA be private services – fee for service and you let the private companies decide what the safety and security standards should be for airports, and airlines and air traffic control?

    If you are going to be anti-gov, be consistent… and don't pick and choose the govt services you want but oppose the ones that others want…

  123. Anonymous Avatar

    Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry

    "Ethics investigators review activities of over 30 lawmakers and aides regarding defense lobbying, corporate influence peddling and other issues."
    WAPO

    You want to know what the problem is? Why government is too big and taxes are too high? There is the problem.

    Too few people with enough ethics to understand what stealing is. Or they know what it is and don't care, because there is no political downside.

    RH

  124. what are you talking about RH?

    Groveton calls this "free speech".

    you know. the "right" for corporations to "talk" to our elected about the things that concern their businesses.

    can't have it both ways.

    If you want businesses to be able to give money to Congressman, then don't complain about corruption and influence peddling.

    the two go hand in hand.

  125. Anonymous Avatar

    Congestion tolls on the peole who use and congest NoVa roads is not charging NoVa for RoVa.

    Of course it is, if the existing funding share is not changed. NOVA pays for NOVA and ROVA, ROVA pays for ROVA and NOVA, too except thay have relatively no money, then NOVA pays some more for NOVA.

    And then Any ROVA resident is free to move to NOVA and get his roads for free. NOVA should therefore chare big Proffers to anyone moving from ROVA and big tolls to anyone commuting from ROVA.

    Right?

    RH

  126. it doesn't matter where you live or where you move to or even where you travel to

    at the end of the day – if you are part of the congestion – and you want less congestion -then the cost of that belongs to you.

    If you are a NoVa resident who travels to work everyday in a solo car on congested roads then you should not be expecting someone who does not drive on NoVa roads to pay to buy down your congestion.

    The same goes for RoVa.

    If you live on a rural road that need safety and capacity upgrades – then you should expect others who don't use that road to pay for it.

    SOME roads that CONNECT the STATE and provide the ability to move about RoVA – should be contributed to by everyone.

    How much should all of us contribute to the State/Fed to provide intra and inter state level connectivity?

    You don't know how much we pay right now do you?

    so how can you say how much is right or not?

    go look at the VDOT budget and look at the columns on page 7 that say "Statewide Other" and "Central office".

    Now you know.

    Now tell me if that is the "right" amount or if VDOT is "stealing" from you.

    Now go look at the Columns that say NoVa and the others that constitute what we call RoVa and tell me how you know that RovA is "stealing" from NoVa.

    look at this data – and make your case.

    one easy way is to generate per capita data per region..

    so go do that and report back with the data to back up your assertions..

    here's the link.. :

    http://virginiadot.org/business/resources/fy-08-supplement-final.pdf

    ball is in your court.

  127. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton — how about ending real estate developer entitlements? Did you read Lisa Rein's story in the Post today? I wonder how much money goes to subsidize so-called free market businesses in Virginia.

    Both liberals and conservatives should agree that those subsidies need to go or, at the very minimum, be targeted to achieve important public policies. Spending billions on something that, in both the short- and long-run, will not make our transportation mess any better is simply insane.

    I was quite surprised to see the Post put such a huge number in the headline. A number of people cannot be happy about that. It makes it harder to slip one by the ordinary people.

    TMT

  128. Now.. Ray would call these "property rights" I suspect since he thinks that charging developers for infrastructure is "stealing".

  129. here's your problem and it's so rich with irony because it bites Groveton in the hind end:

    " concern over whether a prime economic engine of Virginia that's poised to become even bigger will receive new money from Richmond "

    so the NoVa developers are making a deal with Richmond that in return for Richmond giving them the infrastructure money – they will give Richmond, later on, some of the tax money….

    Is that what you mean by "Home Rule" Groveton?

    Dont' you support what TMT is saying – that these NoVa Developers should be "allowed" to develop on their own without "interference" from those Pocahontas folks from Richmond?

    so.. if we did it according to REAL Home Rule, the developers would have to ask folks like TMT if he wanted to help pay for the developers infrastructure needs..

    or would Home Rule really mean that Fairfax elected would just simply TELL TMT to pay up or move out?

    explain further Groveton how this Home Rule stuff works with developments like Tysons.
    now don't get tongue-tied here..with your answer..

  130. Anonymous Avatar

    "then the cost of that belongs to you."

    ———–

    This is where you keep making the same mistake. Whether you contribute to congestion or not, part of the cost is going to come to you.

    Therefore, to the extent that eliminating congestion benefits you, you should bear the cost. You might think similar to "polluter pays" that only those causing the problem should pay.

    But even if you can somehow make that happen, there will be external costs of his payments which flow back to you as externalities, just exactly the same as the costs of congestion or pollution flow to you as externalities.

    RH

  131. Anonymous Avatar

    "…Supreme Court on that issue…as they are the ones who mandated statewide equivalent education funding."

    And why was that done? To provide (more or less) equal opportunity statewide.

    We should have eqaul opportunity to travel in relatively uncongested conditions statewide, too.

    RH

  132. the cost of you driving in NoVa congestion does not "come to me" guy much less to that guy in Lynchburg driving to his factory job and dealing with his own congestion.

    You keep thinking that others should be responsible for YOUR congestion and it's just not true.

    If you want to drive a car solo at rush hour and it's congested – you're the one causing it.

    whether or not you have a choice or not and how much you want or don't want to pay in time or money is your business.

  133. not according to the Supreme Court.

    Kids are innocent.. do not cause their lack of education and are entitled by law to equal access to the OPPORTUNITY.

    They still have to work to become education once they get access to those equivalent resources.

    you, on the other hand are not innocent of congestion.

    you make a choice to cause it and so you have a role in it.

  134. Anonymous Avatar

    " the concept of the government "stealing" implies that they'd actually spend that money on something else? "

    You don't listen, do you? One major government job is to protect everyones life and property equally. The way you do that is to minimize Total costs where

    TC = PC + EC + GC

    Any solution that does not work in the direction of minimizing the left side of that equation is equivalent to stealing SOMEONES's property rights or endangering their life.

    VDOT's part of that equation is the part that conserns tself withthe maintenance and construction of roads. If they are not minimizing the left sid of their part of the equation then they are stealing from SOMEONE.

    That can happen EITHER because they are spending too little, or spending too much. One might mean they are stealing from me, and the other might mean they are stealing from you. Either way, government is not protecting our property rights.

    We cannot expect them to get it perfect, because the cost of figuring out all the transaction costs gets in the way of a perfect solution. But we can expect them to continually and incrementally improve.

    It is not a matter of them spending it on "something" else it is a matter of losing the net benefits in the best alternative use of public funds.

    RH

    RH

  135. " Any solution that does not work in the direction of minimizing the left side of that equation is equivalent to stealing SOMEONES's property rights or endangering their life."

    who decides the parts of the equation?

    doesn't the govt do that right now?

    Doesn't the govt decide right now how much money VDOT should get and spend?

    how would you change that?

  136. Anonymous Avatar

    I have nothing aganst free speech. Anyone , even a virtual person such as a corporation has the "right" to "talk" to our elected officials.

    But our elected officials still have an obligationto protect everyone equally.

    They have an obligation to have th ethical spine to say no when that obligation is not met – even if it gets them fired.

    Free speech is only free as long as it is not used as a method to steal from us, or someone else.

    RH

  137. Anonymous Avatar

    "you should not be expecting someone who does not drive on NoVa roads to pay to buy down your congestion."

    I expect someone who does not drive on NOVA roads to look out for their own interests. They incur a real cost when someone else is stuck in congestion. Whenever that cost is higher than their share of buying down the congestion, they would be utterly stupid not to support doing so.

    It is called cutting off you r nose to spite your face.

    RH

  138. using the phrase "ethical spine" when developers are allowed to give money to Fairfax candidates for office is the height of oxymornic thinking.. though

    ALL of us are SUPPOSED to be ethical – but we we know otherwise.. don't we?

  139. Anonymous Avatar

    "…you, on the other hand are not innocent of congestion. "

    Innocent is a value laden word.

    If I'm driving during rush hour, I'm not causing anyone else a bit more congestion than they are causing me – if you believe that driving is the cause of congestion.
    Where, exactly does the guilt lie?

    If I want to get ahead in the world I have to work and compete at it, whether I am going to school or driving to work. All we are guaranteed is the right to try: we are not guaranteed success.

    If you are fortunate enough to drive to work in someplace that is not very congested, you are still causing eeryone else you interact with the same amount of congestion they are causing you. You would be as guilty or innocent as I am.

    The real difference is not in guilt or innocense, it is in the opportunity provided at which to try. The Supreme court decided that schools should provide (more or less) equal opportunity regardless of how innocent or guilty our children and parents are of providing input in the form of effort or money.

    Why should roads be any different. Why should you have the opportunity to drive to work in 20 minutes, when the same distance trip costs 40 minutes someplace else?

    Given you rpremise you r conclusion is wrong, but even worse, your premise is wrong too. Driving isn't what causes congestion, it is having too many atrractions in too little space.

    RH

  140. " if you believe that driving is the cause of congestion.
    Where, exactly does the guilt lie?"

    not the guy behind the tree

    in you are in congestion – you can believe what you want as to whether it is you or the others who do not need to be driving at that time -but you are there so you are part of it.

    The guy driving into Farmville to pick up a shovel is not the cause of your congestion and does not owe you one thin dime for it.

    you can blame congestion on anyone you want including whoever did not "create" more places but the relevant point is that if you are in it – you are a cause of it and not that guy in Farmville.

  141. Anonymous Avatar

    "Doesn't the govt decide right now how much money VDOT should get and spend?

    how would you change that?"

    ————————-

    The government decides politically, based on pressure from public interests. Politics of course is often equivalent to money.

    The way it works now is that Party A comes in and screams "hey this is costing me x amount of money". even though we recognize they are likely to exaggerate there is probably some truth to their complaint.

    The way it works now is whoever makes the biggest claim for or against their part of the eequation wins the battle. There really isn't any effort to see that the three parts are chosen to get the lowest overall cost.

    There is no constituency on the left side of the equation. On theright side (for simplicity sake) you have commerce arguing for lower production costs (or higher barriers against their competitors). They are arguing the production costs term as if it is the only cost.

    Consumers and Environmentalists endure the most in terms of external costs and they argue their position as if it is the only cost that matters.

    Under Government costs Republicans always want to reduce government cost as if that is the only cost that matters, and Liberlas always want to spend more onthe asumption it will reduce external costs.

    No one is seriosuly trying to balance these against total cost, which is all that matters. Reducing total costs is what gives all of us the greatest opportunity to try when we get up the next day.

    RH

  142. Anonymous Avatar

    congestion does not "come to me"

    ————————-

    You are kidding yourself, if you believe that. Alternatively, if that is what you believe, why do you care? Why support tolls and transit, if you think my driving doesn't cost you and your driving doesn't cost me. Of course it does.

    —————————

    Much less the guy in Lynchburg.

    Well, here you are correct.

    I bump the six guys next to me and they bump the six next to them after three or four pushes we all spread out and the effect s not noticeible on the other side of the room.

    Until a fire breaks out.

    Yes, the costs are less the farther away you are physically and transactionally. They are not zero, but they are not worth worrying about either.

    RH

  143. Anonymous Avatar

    "-but you are there so you are part of it."

    Isn't that exactly what I have been saying? The solution to congestion is to be someplace else.

    You drive for some reason, usually a financial one. We put too many financial reasons in one place and THAT is why we have congestion.

    The solution to congestion cannot be less driving unless we count as part of the cost less financial opportunity. We work hard at promoting car pools and transit, but they don't work because they do not provide equivalent opportunity. that is why we are now offering to pay people to car pool, and why we are giving up on HOV lanes in favor of HOT lanes.

    If you really want to solve congestion give people an EQUAL reason to drive someplace else.

    Looked at another way, the reason you do not have congestion is that we previously spent TOO MUCH on roads in your area for the opportunities provided.

    RH

  144. Anonymous Avatar

    "The guy driving into Farmville to pick up a shovel is not the cause of your congestion and does not owe you one thin dime for it."

    Wrong.

    You just said that roads are never paid for. Unless you can show that he paid for ALL of his road without any help from me, then of course he owes me.

    He is driving on an uncongested road partly at my expense and I am driving on a congested road at his expense. the correct amount of congestion is not zero, any more than the correct amount of pollution is zero.

    If he is driving in uncongested traffic then obviously we spent TOO MUCH there and NOT ENOUGH here.

    He owes more money to the congested areas. That reallyisn;t an issue. The only issus is how much. It may only be one thin dime, but if it is, then he is effectively stealing by now withholding that dime, after he got his dime from me.

    RH

  145. Anonymous Avatar

    "ALL of us are SUPPOSED to be ethical – "

    I don't think so. We expect businesses to promote business and environmentalists to promote the environment. All we can do is point out that if they succeed in being unethical then they can't expect any better treatment when their opponents succeed. No one is safe in that environment.

    That's why we demand, or should demand that our government practitioners hold to a higher standard: they have equal obligation to everyone – regardless if they vote or contribute.

    RH

  146. re: not doing the equation right

    how would you change that?

    re: paying for congestion

    it affects me when you advocate through higher gas taxes that I pay more so you can build more Springfield Interchanges with my money.

    If you want to make congestion then the best way to deal with it is to let you pay for it – either in time or money.

    the best way to let you get away with it is to let you collect money form others to pay for it..

    ..then all you'll do when you spend that money is you'll want more … to "fix" your congestion.

    That's why TOLLS are what you need.

    Then YOU can decide if you want to pay in your own time or your own money for the congestion that you cause.

    Somebody is not going to create other places for you either.

    You can go to other places or you can stay and pay.

    Again, it's your deal.

    No one else is to blame and no one else needs to pay to fix your issues.

    I'd give he same advice to the folks in Richmond, or Hampton Roads or Roanoke.

    The idea that "the state" is going to come in and provide money to fix your congestion is a well loved but totally dumb idea but people still believe it.

    The State, if you are lucky, will give you back MOST of what you paid in gas taxes for transportation and if you don't believe that you are getting your fair share – why in the world would you advocate that the state tax you more instead of you deciding to pay more locally and keep it?

    Locally, you can pay higher taxes or tolls to help buy down the congestion – and you get 100% of your dollar and don't have to worry about the State shagging some of it to pay for congestion in Roanoke….or Farmville…

  147. " Wrong.

    You just said that roads are never paid for. Unless you can show that he paid for ALL of his road without any help from me, then of course he owes me."

    if he is paying for his own maintenance..then why does he owe you?

    Let's assume that you can actually prove a long time ago back in the 1920's that some money was given to his locality and he owed it back.

    what's you'd get back wouldn't be enough to buy one hour less of congestion.

    but that won't happen either.

    so maybe he owes you a thin dime.

    you can go on complaining about it but it won't actually result in less congestion for you.. so you've just decided to have a blather attack instead….

  148. Anonymous Avatar

    "it affects me when you advocate through higher gas taxes that I pay more so you can build more Springfield Interchanges with my money."

    But you already got your roads (partly) with my money, and when you need new ones you will still get them (partly) with my money.

    You are already getting an (excess) benefit over and above what I get, and yet you think I should pay more.

    Sure, absolutely, the Springfield interchage costs a zillion times more than your corner stoplight, but 10% of the entire nation will use the Springfield interchange over the course of a year.

    But all of that is why, instead of advocating that I pay more for a solution that won't work, and won't be allowed anyway, you should advocate for more places. The kind of places that don't need Springfield interchanges.

    You and I would BOTH be money ahead because our total costs would be lower. But you would rather obsess over what you pay and can't perceive that you benefit from.

    With you, like most people it is all take and no give.

    Supppose that some all knowing computer alien landed on earth and he had the innate ability ot assess all costs and all benefits. Suppose he said, Larry, you are wrong, you actaully owe another $100 a year for your benefits. And he could hand you a printout.

    Would you agree that you owed the money and cough up, because you know it is the right thing to do? That otherwise you are getting something for nothing at someone else's expense? Even if it is only one one hundredth of a penny to each of a million people?

    Or would you say, its only a hundrdedth of a penny, it isn't worth writing the checks for?

    What if there are a million people just like you, so the aggregate amount is considerable?

    OK so we agree that, theoretically it is the right thing to do. After all If you are going to complain about not paying one thin dime you don't owe, then you pretty much have to accept the responsibility for paying one you do owe.

    The only thing we are missing is that printout. We may not be as smart as the all seeing alien tansactionalist, but we could be a lot smarter than we are – if we agree to look.

    My experience is that those who won't agree to look are the ones who won;t agree becasue they already know what the answer is.

    RH

  149. Anonymous Avatar

    "Let's assume that you can actually prove a long time ago back in the 1920's that some money was given to his locality and he owed it back."

    With interest.

    There are maybe two million people in NOVA and 5 million in the rest of the state. Over 20 years that's $16,300,000 at ten cents apiece.

    I'll take it.

    Anyway, you already argued that the state doesn't even have enough for maintenance now. What makes you think he is paying his maintenance and I'm not paying mine?

    RH

  150. Anonymous Avatar

    That's why TOLLS are what you need.

    There you go again. It's all about what I need (to pay).

    I don't have any problem with tolls as long as they ar universal.

    But since you have fewer people using your uncongested roads, you will probably find that your tolls need to be a lot higher, even though yur roads are cheaper.

    Now, if you are paying for all of you roads that's a savings to NOVA and they can pay for their own roads and their own congestion.

    I don;t think that if our alien friend did the math, that you would likethe answer.

    RH

  151. " but 10% of the entire nation will use the Springfield interchange over the course of a year. "

    so let them and you pay for it.

    what little you might have provided back in 1920 for my roads is even less than .01% of the cost of Springfield.

    re: Aliens with computers can fix this problem.

    not likely but you get high marks for creativity.

  152. don't hold your breath waiting for it.

  153. I don't mind paying tolls or taxes for our roads.

    and I don't mind paying a percentage to maintain the state's connecting roads.

    but then I expect you to do the same.

    you know you're the man who says he's opposed to "stealing" but this sure sounds like a version of it when you think others are supposed to buy down your congestion.

  154. " Anyway, you already argued that the state doesn't even have enough for maintenance now. What makes you think he is paying his maintenance and I'm not paying mine?"

    not true. they have enough for maintenance and Ops for the most part.

    what they don't have is any left over for improvements or new.

    So now.. you have to decide how you are going to do improvements, remove bottlenecks, add left lanes, build connecting roads.

    you won't get that money from others.. they're going to be busy trying to figure out how to come up with their own money for their improvements.

    so Mr. would-be robber, go steal from someone else

  155. Anonymous Avatar

    "I don't mind paying tolls or taxes for our roads.

    and I don't mind paying a percentage to maintain the state's connecting roads.

    but then I expect you to do the same."

    ————————–

    Then finally we agree.

    In Game theory it is very hard to evise a strategy that is more efficient that one called tit for tat. And that is the basis of my entire argument: fairness, simplicity, and efficiency.

    I don't mind paying for watershed protection, but I expect everyone who enjoys the watershed protection I provide to do the same. That isn't the case rtight now, so you can send a check any time.

    As long as you propose a solution that is FUNCTIONALLY the same, I don't have a problem. I don;t care how it is done.

    But don't try to increase the setback on peoples lots and try to tell me that it is FUNCTIONALLY the same whether you have built or not.

    Equal benefit, equal responsibility, equal opportunity, equal cost. Easy to say, hard to do. markets are the best tool we have for setting alevel palyaing field.

    RH

  156. that's sorta like saying that because you HAVE to drive 50 miles it's not fair to charge you more tolls than the folks who drive 10 miles.. since you BOTH have to drive… eh?

  157. Anonymous Avatar

    " but 10% of the entire nation will use the Springfield interchange over the course of a year. "

    so let them and you pay for it."

    Fine, but by your math the entire cost would be charged against NOVA's share of state funds.

    By my math, the 10% of the entire nation that uses it includes a fair number from ROVA.

    RH

  158. Anonymous Avatar

    "that's sorta like saying that because you HAVE to drive 50 miles it's not fair to charge you more tolls than the folks who drive 10 miles.. since you BOTH have to drive… eh?"

    Are they going to pay tolls on my 40 miles when they come out for the weekend?

    Your math breaks down because it turns out that almost regardless of where you live the average miles driven is about the same. I drive a lot but my wife drives very little. On a per vehicle basis our use is no different than anybody else's.

    From 1998 to 1994 the miles driven per passenger vehicle has changed very little. Mile driven by light trucks has increased. But while the total number of miles traveled and the number of residential vehicles increased, the total amount of paved and unpaved roadway remained at about 3.9 million miles. About 40 percent of the existing roadway system, was unpaved as of 1994.

    In 1988, the average mile of roadway was traveled by residential vehicles 1,066 times per day. In 1994, the number was 1,257, about 18 percent higher. (Because residential vehicles make up only about four-fifths of the U.S. total fleet, there was, in fact, substantially more total travel per mile of roadway.)

    In 1994, the average minivan was driven 13,400 miles, substantially more than the number of miles traveled, on average, by passenger cars, pickup trucks, and large vans. In general, households with children reported a higher number of vehicle-miles traveled than did other households. Where you live has less to do with how much you drive than whether you have children.

    It seems reasonable that people living in the "wide-open spaces" of the West would drive more than people living in urban areas of the West and in other regions of the country. However, the average number of miles traveled per vehicle in the West, 10,900 miles, was comparable to the average for the rest of the United States.

    How much money is availabe counts, too.

    For example, typical householder A, an older person whose children had left home, drove only 8,600 miles in 1994. That same year, people in typical household B, which included teenagers of driving age, drove 29,900 miles. And people in household C, which also included teenagers of driving age and which had an income of $50,000 or more, drove 40,200 miles. Household income does not correlate appreciably with the number of vehicle-miles traveled per vehicle. However, there is a correlation between household income and the number of vehicles per household.

    You really ought to get your facts straight before you go making silly arguments.

    Data from

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/rtecs/chapter3.html

    RH

  159. if your logic is illustrated by your math abilities…

    10% of the traffic in Springfield is NOT 10% of the nation guy.

  160. " turns out that almost regardless of where you live the average miles driven is about the same."

    I want to thank you for the link. Often in your blatherfests here you don't bother with facts at all.

    In this case you actually have some facts available but unfortunately you manage to misunderstand what they mean.

    It don't matter who drives the most or who drives the least as long as the taxes collected are distributed back in some basic proportion with some kept to pay for interstate-type roads that serve everyone.

    what you are arguing in effect is that the miles of travel in NoVa are "more important" than the miles traveled in Farmville so some of the taxes the guy in Farmville pays should go – not for the roads he puts his mileage on but to NoVa ostensibly because the guy in NoVa has "no choice" but to drive in congestion and therefore deserves to have his congestion relieves by others tax dollars.

    this is your basic theory on a lot of things I find.

  161. Anonymous Avatar

    "In this case you actually have some facts available but unfortunately you manage to misunderstand what they mean."

    I don't think so. Half of Fauquier drives to some other county to work every day, but tht is still small number of people, and, they don't all drive to NOVA.

    On weekends a huge number of people leave NOVA to go someplace they would rather be.

    I argue that if you put up two way tolls on Route 66, it is a wash. It would be a waste of money and effort and you would be better off just collecting gas tax – at the appropriate rate.

    A toll is just a gas tax collected inefficiently.

    ———————-

    "what you are arguing in effect is that the miles of travel in NoVa are "more important" than the miles traveled in Farmville…"

    I have not argued that, but now that you mention it, yes.

    A mile traveled in NOVA is likely to earn three to five times as much as a mile traveled in Farmville.

    Twenty minute spenti n cngestion in NOVA is likley to cost a hundredt imes as much aor a thousand times as much as twenty minutes spent in congestion in Farmville – since that NEVER happens.

    Why not? Because Farmville has an excess of roads compared to the commerce hey generate.

    RH

  162. Anonymous Avatar

    If you are unahppy with McDonnell or Deeds, write in Ray Hyde or Larry G.

    RH

  163. " A toll is just a gas tax collected inefficiently"

    even if it's a 100% direct electronic transaction between the customer and the toll operator?

    I doubt it…

    but let's assume you are correct.

    what part about politics do you not understand?

    Do you think Mr. McDonnell is going to raise the gas tax?

    Do you think even if Mr. Deeds got elected that he could convince the Va GA to raise the gas tax?

    But you still miss the point entirely as to why 80% are opposed.

    You want to take money from that guy in Farmville and that guy in Farmville – he knows that and so that guy – multiplied by all the guys in RoVa tell their elected – "Hey, don't raise my gas taxes so NoVa can steal them".

    and NoVA never paid for the Farmville guys roads to start with.

    NoVa in 1920 was a scruffy little place that provided dairy milk and summer produce to DC…

    More than likely, Places like Richmond, Charlottesville and Roanoke paid for Farmvilles 1920-era roads.

  164. Anonymous Avatar

    " even if it's a 100% direct electronic transaction between the customer and the toll operator?"

    You are not going to get 100% electronic until you have 100% tolls everywhere.

    As for inefficient, the last time I went through a toll booth, the re was a huge tie-up.

    Apparently someone didn't realize he was in the smart pass lane and stopped to pay the toll, whereupon he goat a huge rear-ender from some smatpass guy who didn't think he had to stop.

    Yeah, I call that inefficient. It would still be inefficient even if it was collected 100% electronically, because we already have a system that does that 100% electronically AND it charges more for vehicles that are heavier, faster, more powerful or driven hard. It would be inefficient because we don't NEED it and we don't need another whole collection system and bureaucracy to go with it. We certanly don;t need private enterprise stickng their hand in the till.

    RH

  165. " ast time I went through a toll booth, "

    toll booths are going away.

    if you don't have a transponder, they "read" your license plate and you get to pay a higher toll because you don't have transponder…

    You don't have an electronic system right now at all.

    Every gasoline delivery to a service station has to be separately accounted for.

    If the current system is so efficient, how come you don't even know how much your own county generates in gasoline tax and how much of it you get back?

    how "efficient" is that especially for you since you want to know if you're getting your money's worth…??

  166. Anonymous Avatar

    what part about politics do you not understand?

    What part about cents per mile equals a lot more cents per gallon do you not understand?

    ——————————-

    NoVa in 1920 was a scruffy little place that provided dairy milk and summer produce to DC…

    In 1920 there probably wasn't a paved street in Farmville. 40% of the road network is unpaved TODAY.

    —————————-

    Thisa is more of the extremely fair and intelligent idea that "I got mine, now let's stick it to the new guys."

    ————————–

    We probably don't need to worry about what Deeds will do, and Mcdonnell's transportation plans are a throw away.

    Anyone who is sick of this circus should write in Ray Hyde or Larry Gross instead.

    RH

  167. Anonymous Avatar

    Every gasoline delivery to a service station has to be separately accounted for.

    And it is done electronically. Even my personal accounting is elctronic, I haven't made a manual entry for years.

    RH

  168. Anonymous Avatar

    Every gasoline delivery to a service station has to be separately accounted for.

    And it is done electronically. Even my personal accounting is elctronic, I haven't made a manual entry for years.

    And what about th ecourt case in Massacusetts. The Turnpike authority accepted cards other than easy pass, but easy pass users got a discount.

    That was never advertised.

    It's a lousy idea, and expensive and inefficient.

    RH

    RH

  169. Anonymous Avatar

    toll booths are going away.

    Good, let the tools go with them.

    RH

  170. Anonymous Avatar

    "If the current system is so efficient, how come you don't even know how much your own county generates in gasoline tax and how much of it you get back?"

    Because the powers that be don't want us to know. Certainly the data is available.

    But you are trying to change the argument. The gas tax is extremey efficient at collecting money. MUCH more so than any kind of new tolling bureaucracy will be.

    Now, what happens after you collect the money, you cannot very well blame on the collection system. What makes you think that what happens to money collected from universal tolls will be any more transparent? that part of th esystem is broken, no matter where the money comes from.

    And it is universal tolls we are talking about, right? You know what the constitution would say about state directed taxes that are not uniform.

    RH

  171. Anonymous Avatar

    Knowing how much my county pays vs what it gets back has NOTHING to do with whether I am getting my moneys worth when I pay for state transportation systems.

    First of all, the immediate outlying counties probably pay a a lot more in gas tax than they get back.

    I always fill up in Fauquier or Warren because it is cheaper, but most of my driving is in PW and Fairfax. Why would I care if my county gets the money?

    Fairfax is going to be built out. They won;t gat any more roads. If I'm the next county over, I want Fairfax to have the best roads possible so they will drive as much as possible. Once they are built out, whee will all that money go?

    To the other counties. If they are fighting to prevent NOVA building they are chasing short term profit and ctting their nose off to spite their face.

    They will wind up getting county wise parity just in time to pay for their own big, expensive problems.

    RH

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