Name that Tunnel!

The Utz Pretzel Interchange?

And the hits just keep on coming… Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced an addendum to the 2012 transportation legislation he is seeking this year. My favorite measure is this: Authorizing the Commonwealth Transportation Board to sell naming rights for transportation infrastructure!

According to the governor’s press release, the legislation will allow private entities to place their name on highways, interchanges, bridges and other infrastructure for an annual fee. Proceeds would be applied to road maintenance.

I’m looking forward to hearing some of the creative names people come up with. The Verizon Information Super Highway for Interstate 81… or the Utz Pretzel Interchange for the Springfield Interchange…. or the UVa Heart Center Bypass for the Charlottesville Bypass. (Does anyone else have suggestions? Let me hear them.)

Another bill to watch: One that would create “transportation improvement districts” from which 25% of the growth in state tax revenues attributable to a transportation project will be transferred to the Transportation Trust Fund to fund other transportation improvements. That one sounds like mischief!

The governor also wants to tighten executive control over key boards, including those of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and the Virginia Port Authority.

See the legislative package here.


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8 responses to “Name that Tunnel!”

  1. Mischief? Sounds like making a nexus betwee n transportation and land use. You grow the statds revenue, and you get more of the benefit from it.

  2. The transportation improvement district could be used for Tysons. It makes sense for me to keep some of the additional tax revenues generated in Tysons for use in paying for the multi-billion transportation public facilities.

  3. Jim,
    You need to read the whole bill; smacks of HB 3202:

    State approval of transportation component of local comprehensive plan and the latter must be in accordance with State transportation plans.

    Locals must pay back funds spent for roads not on State plans.

    Devolution for Chesterfield, Fairfax, Loudoun, & Prince William in 2013.

    The last one should make those who want counties to take over their roads with the false promise of state assistance and/or new local taxes [subject to approval by referendum, of course!] very happy.


  4. I think devolution is inevitable given the resistance to any increases in the gas tax. It’s called “stew in your own juice time’. 😉

    I don’t think there will be any “false” promises… just telling folks like it is – the revenues from the gas keep shrinking … and triage takes place.

    what it eventually will boil down to is in local counties want to get in the game or just watch things go down hill. Ironically, the same folks who say “no” to a statewide gas tax increase will get to call the shots in their own respective counties.

    you can bet that land-use decisions are going to take on a whole new perspective if the counties end up with the consequences of those decisions.

    I’m basically all for it. We have too many counties and officials who don’t seem to care much about the connection between land-use decisions and transportation consequences and it has led to some awful circumstances where the counties simply blame VDOT for the mess the county created with their decisions.

    The counties will totally crap up a highway corridor with gonza commercial curb cuts and then turn around and cry that VDOT won’t/Can’t fix it and they want a bypass.

    the funny thing is that counties have long gotten taxes for cars … often significant revenues..but it’s almost never spent on transportation.

  5. Then, in Mr. Larry’s world the counties should be spending the receipts from local meals taxes to inspect restaurants because the state has been laying off local health department staff since 2009 to keep from raising taxes at the state level.
    I would agree more with his arguments about locals crapping up a highway corridor if the VDOT/CTB had shown some spine while that was happening. Why did it take from 1932 to 2011 for the state to adopt access management or other tools to keep the roads from being crapped on by those uncaring locals?
    Mr. Larry has more faith that citizens who vote for anti-taxers to go to Richmond & DC will vote for tax raisers at the local level. Evidence from the recent county elections in Spotsylvania, Powhatan, Isle of Wight and other counties tell a different tale, however.
    He is correct that it all boils down to one thing – money. The borrow & spend bill of last year and the toll & branding bill of this year are only band-aids. Since VDOT spends only a small percentage on secondary roads, devolution will be small change, but the pennies add up. I hope he at least agrees that the state should at least fix the roads that they let deteriorate before giving them to the counties, but that also takes money. Bosun

  6. Bosun and I probably agree more than we disagree.

    For instance, I bet we both agree that when someone says Richmond should “step up” on transportation or that transportation is a core responsibility of the state – that the funding for transportation comes from citizens.

    The question is – if we have not adjusted the gas tax for inflation and as a result we now are generating less money for transportation as a result – how can we fix it?

    Bosun and I will agree that citizens will have to “step up” (as opposed to the “state”) and that there is a choice between citizens stepping up at the local level or at the state level.

    I’d only tweak Bosun a bit on the “small change” concept… most of what I hear about devolution is that it will be a financial disaster for the counties.

    The counties are saying the sky will fall… of course these are the same ones that say VDOT/Richmond is at fault.. tax the hell out of cars and say the “state” is shirking it’s transportation responsibilities.

    re: access management. The counties hate it. They say that VDOT is messing up their economic development by not allowing gonza curb cuts and median cross-overs…

    Do we dam VDOT for doing what the counties want or don’t want?

  7. Mr. Larry – we agree on devolution as a disaster for counties. My comment was that the state does the sky is falling about the cost of maintaining secondary roads but in the scheme of things the cost is small.
    I have not heard that counties hate it. Commercial developers hate it because they want unlimited curb cuts and no medians. Bosun

  8. Bosun.. how can it be “small potatoes” and a “disaster” at the same time?

    since funding for local roads comes from local taxpayers… (assuming there is some level of proportionality in the allocation)…

    Bonsun – do we even know how much that cost is for most counties?

    Are we certain that the counties can’t find cheaper alternatives to VDOT maintenance?

    how about defining a project and putting it into phases according to the county’s priorities and not VDOT’s?

    I think the counties will have much more flexibility in defining projects, phasing projects, and incremental funding rather than having one-size fits all project sizes of which no part can be built until funding is available for the entire segment.

    back to the funding. funding for secondary roads comes from citizens, not Richmond, right?

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