No Surprise, More Gridlock

Cut through the rhetorical miasma of the General Assembly, and here’s what’s going on: Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Henry, has introduced Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s transportation package in the House of Delegates. So far, the governor hasn’t found anyone to introduce the same plan in the state Senate, where Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, R-Fairfax, has his own ideas.

House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, says the House won’t vote on Kaine’s bill until it passes the Democratic-controlled Senate. “It is obvious to everyone that, since a Democrat governor called this special session, the body controlled by his party should act first on his legislation,” he said. “When the governor’s allies in the Senate send us a bill that they have passed and that he will sign, then we will give it full and fair consideration.”

Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey called that a “delaying tactic.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Nobody can agree on anything. And everybody’s trying to set up somebody else to take the fall for failing to come up with a transportation “solution.”

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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Economic cost, not taxes should be the focus of the discussion. It is cheaper to live in a community where there are 10 persons per acre then in a low density suburb. It is cheaper to live in a community where there are a hundred persons per acre with transit. Look at the tax rates. Look at the housing prices. Look at your gasoline bill.

    Until land use and support for development at economic densities becomes the focus of discussion, more money will not solve the congestion problem. The first step is a new plan that is not based on the old plan. A new plan must assess transportation needs and assign priorities to projects on a statewide basis based on the economic efficiency. A tax allocation plan that is an aggregation of local, district, regional, or modal plans will not do.

    Jim W

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    No. Don’t look at the tax rate. Look at the total dollars in taxes paid, compared to the services you get.

    Don’t look at the housing prices, look at the prices for comparable housing. Even including transportation costs.

    And when you talk about economic densities, make sure you factor in the costs of complexity which higher density requires: ladder trucks instead of fire trucks. wehn you have 100 persons per acre paying $2000 in taxes each instead of 5 people paying $5000 in taxes total, it is NOT because the former acre is cheaper.

    Cheaper per resident, maybe, but what do they get?

    More density won’t solve the congestion problem any more than more money.

    Yes, assign priorities to projects on a statewide basis based on the economic efficiency.

    But first, lets agree what economic efficiency is. Is it 100 people on one acre paying $200,000 in taxes, total, and ten times that in rent?

    Somehow, I don’t think so.


  3. Anonymous Avatar

    “As New York and London slip, Dubai is quickly becoming the hot-spot for financial services—and oil does not have as much to do with it as one might think. Dubai has the world’s lowest tax rate, between 10 and 25 percent lower than in the United Kingdom. Living away from home in a Middle-Eastern desert may not be ideal, but for many it is a difference of hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of pounds, euros, yen, or dollars. That should be enough to appease any homesickness.”

    Then again, the reason taxes are so low is all that oil revenue.


  4. Groveton Avatar

    Jim W:

    I’d like to see the numbrs. I don’t have them so I’ll just say what I see. The most expensive places to live, the places with the highest per capita taxes and the highest rates are high density cities. I am in London right now. It’s surreal how much things cost. I lived in Manhattan and Chicago – they are extremely expensive.

    The “high density should be cheaper than low density” argument makes logical sense. I just don’t see the empirical evidence. In fact, from informal observation, I see the opposite. But somewhere in the back of my mind is a little voice. It’s asking what Fairfax County would look like with 0% growth for, say, the next 5 – 10 years. I wonder what the tax structure would be. Assuming that there is money being “sent” from Fairfax County to elsewhere, I wonder whether that transfer would survive in a “no growth” mode. I have a very stong (qualitative) sense that if Fairfax County (and NoVA) stopped growing – it would expose an economic “house of cards” throughout the rest of the state. Maybe I’m wrong. As a nearly life-long NoVA resident I hear the siren song of plateau-ing growth. I just wonder about the “unintended consequences”.

    Dubai is a great story. Kind of a complicated political situation – UAE, Dubai Emirate, Dubai City. The big news (in my mind) is that Dubai saw that it was running out of oil to export and did something about it. Dubai used the money from oil to build other industries (banking, tourism). Now, the other indutries are taking the place of oil.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    “The “high density should be cheaper than low density” argument makes logical sense. I just don’t see the empirical evidence.”

    That observation is what started my long chain of rants against nonsense ideas posing as support for what are fundamentally conservation efforts.

    Conservation is a good idea by itself. It doesn’t need and isn’t helped by untruths.


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