Rare Praise for a Member of the MSM

I need to read Michael Shear’s reporting at the WaPo more consistently. He illuminates a variety of perspectives I haven’t seen covered by Virginia’s other major dailies. Here’s a month-old article he wrote about the on-again, off-again relationship between Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Virginia’s smart growth movement: “On Road Funding, Kaine Finds Slow-Growth Camp Is No Ally.”

If you want to understand the dynamics of the taxes-and-transportation debate, the article is still worth reading.


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2 responses to “Rare Praise for a Member of the MSM”

  1. Jim Wamsley Avatar
    Jim Wamsley

    It’s lonely at the top.

    With the “the anti-tax activists and lawmakers” and “homebuilders” against Kaine
    we wonder why taxes-and-transportation are still being debated.

    Michael Shear’s insight is identifying Kaine’s signature proposal — to give local governments the ability to turn down a rezoning if the road network is inadequate as key. The “massive lobbying campaign by homebuilders, led by Mike Toalson, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Virginia, and the group’s chief counsel, William G. Thomas” assured failure in the battle for road funds.

    The “Slow-Growth Camp” are late comers to the fight.

  2. Ray Hyde Avatar

    I don’t see how you could pass this without an agreed upon measure of when the road network is inadequate, and where. Does this mean local government could turn it down if it overwhelms local roads only?

    Suppose the road usage later declines due to higher fuel prices or a primary employer moves, does that open up more development? This was a dumb idea from the get-go. We don’t have any consensus on what good land use might be, and other than some vague homilies, no way to describe or measure what we have.

    As Larry Gross pointed out in “Two Weeks Later, Some House Criticisms of Kaine Rail-to-Dulles Deal Still Valid”, we don’t have any criteria for fitness as a land use expert.

    Schwartz opinion is that “Virginians are being asked to fund a number of projects that will not relieve congestion and will make sprawl and traffic worse.” Well, OK. But there probably isn’t anything that is a proven method to relieve congestion, short of putting up a forest. Since there is no proven method anywhere for relieving congestion under the conditions we have, the argument that the projects don’t relieve congestion is specious and unhelpful.

    Schwartz & Co. have never even indicated a desire to reduce congestion, so far as I know. They figure that if you reduce congestion people will drive more, and that is necessarily a bad thing.

    What they really want is control over how to design communities and land use, but as Larry pointed out, we don’t have the criteria to make Schwartz or anyone else the land use guru.

    Maybe his plans have merit, but as far as I can figure, no one has been able to prove the effect of his vaguely proposed ideas, one way or another. I don’t see that a long term plan to reorganize the way we live has much hope of fixing our current problems. If Schwartz and company are successful in preventing any movement other than movement they approve of, then they are playing the strategic stalemate game, which is helpful to no one.

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