Re-Thinking the Black Hole of Richmond

by James A. Bacon

Is your region of the state getting its fair share of transportation dollars? Lots of people would respond with a resounding, “No!” If they were all right, it would mean that there are no winners in the transportation sweepstakes, only losers, and that the Virginia transportation budget is the biggest black hole in the Milky Way galaxy this side of Sagittarius A.

But it may be necessary to re-think the old nostrum that all money flows to Richmond but little escapes its gravitational pull. Indeed, if the past two years are any indication, the Richmond transportation district (which extends to the North Carolina state line) has been sucking air while most of the money flows elsewhere.

The staff of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission has tallied all the dollars allocated to the state’s nine transportation districts. Combining the numbers for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), here’s what the construction numbers look like for FY 2012 and FY 2013:

While the Richmond MPO did not adjust construction dollars on a per-capita basis, I have done so in the chart above. Wonder of wonders, Northern Virginia has been allocated roughly four times per capita as much as the Richmond district. Only the Lynchburg district has fared worse.

Of course, that tells the story for only two years. District numbers swell for a year or two as money for mega-projects flow through the funding pipeline, then fall as the projects are completed. It can create a distorted image if you focus on a short period of time. Accordingly, the data crunchers in the Richmond MPO compiled the numbers for the Six Year Improvement Program for road and highway dollars (no rail). The results:

The rankings change a lot as Northern Virginia mega-projects wind down and mega-projects in Hampton Roads and Charlottesville (in the Culpeper district) ramp up. However, Richmond remains stuck in the basement with our friends in Lynchburg, although one could argue that the Charlottesville Bypass is really being spent for the benefit of Lynchburg and Danville, not Charlottesville, therefore it’s the Culpeper District that’s clapped in the fiscal dungeons.

Another reason those numbers don’t tell the whole story is that Richmond MPO staffers pulled out “statewide” projects that will benefit more than one region, such as the Interstate 95 HOV/HOT lane project, which will serve both the Northern Virginia and the Fredericksburg districts. And don’t forget, the green chart includes road construction dollars only. If it included rail and public transportation dollars, the allocations would be higher — and Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, which get most of that money, would rise in the rankings.

Though interesting, these numbers won’t quell the kvetching. The Six Year Improvement Program is a shrunken remnant of construction budgets past. State dollars available for construction are expected to totally dry up by 2017 or 2018. One could argue that past construction spending, when money was more abundant, was far more beneficial to different regions of the state. According to political lore, Sen. Edward E. Willey, D-Richmond, who was the state majority leader back when Democrats treated the General Assembly as a private club, funneled many millions to pet projects in the Richmond region at the expense of other regions. But, then, Willey left the state Senate in 1983 — almost 30 years ago.

The Richmond region has received little special treatment since, argues Chuck Gates, communications director for the Richmond MPO. The General Assembly did offset some of the cost of the Rt. 288 bypass, but that was a fraction of the cost of mega-projects like the I-95/495 interchange and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Northern Virginia, he argues. “They threw a bone to us. But it’s been a decade since those decisions were made.”

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  1. DJRippert Avatar

    “But, then, Willey left the state Senate in 1983 — almost 30 years ago.”.

    And the gas tax was frozen in amber in 1986, three years after that.

    No sense keeping the tax up with inflation after Richmond is gold plated I guess.

    Are the financial records available from the years prior to 2011? The CTB has been in existence since 1935. Did they just start tracking the spend two years ago?

    The fact that these figures aren’t readily available for many years in the past is telling in itself.

    1. I think the numbers were there for anyone who wanted to calculate them. The Richmond MPO took the trouble to actually do so.

      1. Hi everyone, long-time lurker, first-time poster.

        I went through the trouble of calculating the numbers to see how much money was being transferred from one region to another. To accomplish this, I took the VMT (Vehicle Miles Travelled) in each locality and assumed that people are likely to buy gas in a ratio of where they drive. Then I used the numbers provided above to calculate the $/VMT for each district. And finally given the VMT for each district and the average $/VMT for the state the ideal level of funding for each district. Unfortunately I don’t think I can attach the Excel sheet to this post, so I’ll share some of the results.

        For 2012 and 2013 Funding NoVA received 304% and 270% respectively of what they should have. No other district received above what they were due. The next highest was Hampton Roads with 80% and 95% respectively. The lowest was the Richmond district with 30% for both years.

        Much of this is due to the construction of the I-495 Express Lanes in NoVA, as we see in terms of six-year funding Hampton Roads receives the lion’s share of the gas tax profits at 161%, Bristol receives 147%, and NoVA limps in at 110%. Meanwhile Lynchburg, Richmond, and Fredericksburg all receive in the 40% range.

        I’d be more than glad to share the full sheet if anyone is interested.

        1. Hi, Hokie, Hokie, Hi, Yes, I’d be interested in seeing your numbers. Please email me at I would be happy to reformat the spreadsheet as a PDF and post it to the blog so others can see it, if you are willing.

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    I am also curious as to where Jim got his population figures for the per capita calculation. The state’s transportation districts are truly bizarre remnants of 1935 Virginia.

    Reverse engineering Jim’s math leaves me with a Richmond population of 1.242M ($171.4M / $137.90). However, as Jim points out, the “Richmond” transportation district stretches all the way to the North Carolina border. Why would the population of the Richmond metropolitan area be the right proxy for a sprawling district that stretches to North Carolina?

    1. The population numbers came from the Richmond MPO, which, presumably, added up the numbers for all the localities in each district. Tedious, but not very hard to do.

  3. But since state law doesn’t permit the recording and reporting of gas taxes paid by locality, no one knows whether they are net donors, net recipients or just about breaking even. Slush funds work better when the contributors are kept in the dark.

  4. Good point, we don’t know if individual localities are net donors or recipients. I’ll see if I can find out if we can calculate if *transportation districts* are.

  5. As I noted earlier, I found it interesting that Fairfax County’s transportation fora did not include any specifics for improvements that would be funded by additional local tax revenues. There is still too much “hide the pea” and “Three Card Monte” with transportation funding, both at the state and local level. What I find most revealing is that those who are pushing the hardest for more funds for transportation are not also seeking reforms so that the average person can see benefits from higher taxes. That tells me those seeking higher taxes don’t really want to improve transportation, but rather, want access to other people’s money for personal gain.

  6. DJRippert Avatar

    The 391,374 people living in the Culpeper transportation district have one vote on the CTB and the 2,281,959 people living in the Northern Virginia transportation district have one vote on the CTB.

    The Imperial Clown Show in Richmond rides again.

    And you guys complain about representation on the MWAA?

    1. No question, CTB representation is totally outmoded and grossly unfair.

      I would add, though, that NoVa has had two members, not one. One is technically an “urban at-large” member, but he effectively represents Northern Virginia.

      That said, the system is still unfair.

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        Why do you think the “urban at large” member represents NoVa and not Tidewater or Richmond?

        Looks to me like there are three “urban at large” members. Two are from Virginia Beach and one is from NoVa. There are also two “rural at large” members. One is from Luray and the other seat is unfilled.

        So, Hampton Roads actually has three votes, NoVa has two and Richmond has one? A total of six.

        The rest of the state has eight votes (6 districts and 2 rural at large).

        Unfortunately, 65% of the state’s population lives in the NoVa, Richmond and Hampton Roads transportation districts.

        A gas tax frozen for 26 years.
        A transportation board frozen for 77 years.

        It must be hard to maintain that level of incompetence.

  7. Interestingly, reform of the representation of the CTB was not on the 2012 Fairfax County list of legislative priorities. One would think . . .

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      It was brought up in the 2012 General Assembly session and killed in committee.

      Maybe Fairfax got tired of the futility of trying to reason with the Clown Show.

  8. re: ” But since state law doesn’t permit the recording and reporting of gas taxes paid by locality, no one knows whether they are net donors, net recipients or just about breaking even. ”

    In my view, this is why a substantial number of people are opposed to an increase in the gas tax – and in turn, their representatives in the GA.

    People so not “see” what the increased gas tax will bring them so they assume it is a slush fund.

    It’s the GOP by the way that is more opposed to increasing the gas tax but I bet the folks who want an increase in the tax will vote GOP anyway, eh?

  9. DJRippert Avatar

    “It’s the GOP by the way that is more opposed to increasing the gas tax but I bet the folks who want an increase in the tax will vote GOP anyway, eh?”.

    It’s definitely the GOP that is opposed. Chap Petersen (a Democrat) has put forward bills to index the gas tax. They were defeated.

    As for voting for the GOP in state elections – not me. If McAuliffe runs against Cuccinelli, Terry can count me in.

  10. Potomac Clubber Avatar
    Potomac Clubber

    A couple of things…First it can be said that the Northern Virginia Mega Projects (Woodrow Wilson bridge / 495 Hot lanes / Mixing Bowl / I-95 Toll Road) benefit the entire Nation (and State) and not just Northern Virginia. They certainly benefit Southern Maryland drivers that come into NoVA daily to work.

    Second, Prince William County residents pay for and build most of their own roads and they are the only county in the State who do that. Shouldn’t those dollars be figured into your stats as well?

    Third, according to political lore, Northern Virginia only gets 25 cents back for every dollar it sends down to Richmond to begin with. I might be wrong, but if Northern Virginia succeeded from the Commonwealth wouldn’t they be able to take care of all their infrastructural needs and still be able to give everybody a tax cut?

    1. Sure, if the richest part of the state seceded, it would be better off. None of those grubby poor people to deal with. NoVa would have the best of both worlds. It wouldn’t have any of those grubby poor people in Washington, D.C., to support either! It would be like San Jose/Silicon Valley seceding from California, or Boston from Massachusetts, or New York City from the state of New York. I think you’ve divined a new strategy for sustainable prosperity!

      As for that 25 cents on the dollar figure, though, I don’t buy it. There is a huge wealth transfer for educational funding, and another wealth transfer to support the apparatus of government. But otherwise, NoVa gets a pretty fair shake.

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        “There is a huge wealth transfer for educational funding, and another wealth transfer to support the apparatus of government. But otherwise, NoVa gets a pretty fair shake.”.

        Two wealth transfers, one of which even Richmond Bubbleup calls “huge”. Otherwise it’s fair?

        Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

        1. Don, you missed the main point. What kind of country would we have if every wealthy suburb divorced itself from the rural counties and inner cities around it — all to keep more for itself?

          Just askin’.

          1. Well then, you’d only have inner-cities and ROVA-like rural everywhere, eh?

            It would be like Kings and serfs!

          2. DJRippert Avatar

            You can have Dillon’s Rule or you can have a wealth transfer. I don’t have a problem contributing more money to other areas of the state. I have a problem contributing more money while not having self-determination. The Imperial Clown Show in Richmond does not represent me in any effective way. If the rest of the state wants to stay under the utterly corrupt yoke of the Clown Show – that is their business. However, the people of NoVa are sick of the Clown Show and want self-determination. Barring that, succession is a real possibility. Kentucky and West Virginia both kissed the Clowns in Richmond goodbye. Maybe it’s time for NoVa to do the same.

            As for kings and serfs and all the other verbal diarrhea being spewed on this topic …

            NoVa will have to join DC and Washington’s suburbs in Maryland to make this work. The incorporation of DC solves a problem that should never have been allowed to exist – Americans without national, political representation.

            DC has no national representation while NoVa lacks effective state – level representation.

            The 51st state – Columbia.

  11. re: roads of statewide, national significance. I agree but here’s the rub – do we even know what percent of transportation revenues go for those kind of roads and how much his left over for the counties/cities?

    I don’t think we really know. I’m willing to bet that one guess – say 5% is as good as another – 2o%.

    Also – talking about Lynchburg. Anyone who has traveled down that way on Route 29 can attest to the miles and miles and miles of “Interstate” 29 in the Lynchburg Region.

    Finally – in terms of localities paying for their own roads. Prince William gets their “share” of the transportation revenues – but they have decided to have referenda on top of that – but so has Fairfax, Stafford and Spotsylvania and probably others.

    We just have a super crappy pubic accounting of transportation revenues – and as I said before, this has an effect on how people feel about increasing taxes… Most all of RoVa believes that any increase in gas taxes will go to NoVa and Hampton and without a transparent accounting – who could blame them?

    It’s the WAY that we do transportation in Va that is the problem.

    Just about every argument you hear is along the lines of one locality’s folks suspecting that the other localities are getting more “slush” than they are.

    If you want to increase taxes, you’re going to have to more transparently account for the monies.

    You know why developers and developer-friendly elected cook up all kinds of new roads to build? It’s precisely because there is no accounting – so everyone believes they can get more funding if they can sell their road proposal to VDOT and the citizens have no idea how much of their “other” funding goes for the developer types verses real transportation needs.

    1. Throw some money at it. It hasn’t worked with the rest of government. Why would it work for transportation?
      We need to fix the process. What constitutes an improvement in traffic? An improvement in Level of Service during the afternoon peak? How do we decided which projects to fund? LOS improvement/cost? LOS improvement per 100 drivers/cost? Why aren’t the advocates for more revenue asking these questions? Perhaps, because they want more revenue for other purposes than for improving LOS.

  12. Potomac Clubber Avatar
    Potomac Clubber

    My point for succession from the Commonwealth is that NoVA might need to become the 51st state before Richmond destroys Northern Virginia with it’s refusal to fund it’s transportation needs. The growing feeling in NoVa is that Richmond doesn’t even consider it “real” Virginia anymore and that the people living there are just a bunch of under-representative and over taxed carpetbaggers who needs to just stop complaining about having to sit in traffic jams everyday and just keep sending their money downstate.
    Mega-Projects are great for inter-state truckers and other out of state just passing through commuters, but the people living in the Northern part of the state are stuck in continuous gridlock. The side roads in NoVA see more traffic in a day then most primary roads in RoVA see all month and that’s not a joke. These Northern Roads side roads are the life blood of the state and mega-projects have nothing to do with them.
    The citizens of Prince William County started paying for and building their own roads after they were told by Richmond that there would never be any additional money to build anything besides a public/private toll road down I-95. Many people think this project will actually make traffic worse on I-95 because Richmond will be taking away the two HOV lanes that everybody uses when rush hour is over and giving them to Transurban, the Aussi toll company. Richmond has had the attitude that if Prince William County is dumb enough to pay for it’s own roads that it’ll just use the money somewhere else.
    The citizens of Arlington are paying for and building a street car /Trolley down Columbia Pike to connect the Pentagon to Skyline Plaza and hopefully extend it to the new DoD Mark Center with zero money from Richmond.
    I think Richmond IS paying for a small part of the Silver Line to Dulles airport, but the tax payers of Fairfax and Loudoun County will be paying for the majority of it. To make matters worse Richmond gave away the Dulles Toll road to MWAA (Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority) and now the tolls are expected to top $10 for a one trip now and it’s going to force everybody to start driving on the already gridlocked Rt 7. For the readers who don’t live in NoVA, Rt. 7 is probably one of the most important roads in the Commonwealth.
    Money for maintenance most be used statewide of course, but I can not see why one penny for new roads should be used anywhere outside of the parking lot called Northern Virginia?

    1. Potomac Clubber. You argue that Richmond ought to fund the transportation needs of Northern Virginia. But who besides Northern Virginia will fund Richmond? No one. So you want us to send some more dollars to Richmond, for which we will once again send pennies. And again, who is responsible for the traffic jams in NoVA? None other than the local officials who approved more development than the roads can handle. For neighborhood roads, you will likely get opposition to a number of projects that the locals see as generating more traffic, rather than reduce traffic congestion.

    2. Virginia is one of four states where the locality does not fund it’s local road needs.

      Let’s stipulate and assume the state does fund roads that serve more than the county or a group of allied counties in a region shouldn’t the locality be funding it’s own needs?

      Arlington and Henrico and every single city and town in Va – take responsibility for the local roads.

      Do you know how many other states – state level transportation agencies pay for subdivision roads? two others.

      why should people in RoVa pay for subdivision roads for people who are three to four times wealthier when much of RoVa citizens do not even live in nor could afford to – such subdivisions?

      In virtually all states – localities like NoVa are responsible for their own road needs. Only in Va do the richest counties blame Richmond for something that should be their responsibility to start with.

      You want to know what is wrong and dysfunctional about transportation in Va?

      It’s Northern Virginia expecting the General Assembly – that represents not only NoVa but 99 other counties to start taxing their citizens who make 1/3 the money that NoVa citizens make to pay for NoVa roads.

      NoVa is irresponsible about development and transportation infrastructure never having met a developer in search of tranpo subsidies because they have always believed that it’s the responsibility of RoVa to pick up the tab no matter how dumb development is in terms of impacts to the transportation network.

      Why after all of these years does NoVa continue to insist that it’s RoVas job to buy NoVa transportation infrastructure?

      1. DJRippert Avatar

        Potomac Clubber –

        Let me introduce you to LarryG. His favorite hobby is making un-substantiated comments over and over again.

        Here’s one of his favorites:

        “NoVa is irresponsible about development and transportation infrastructure never having met a developer in search of tranpo subsidies because they have always believed that it’s the responsibility of RoVa to pick up the tab no matter how dumb development is in terms of impacts to the transportation network.”.

        He has no basis for making that claim. Yet, he’ll make the claim all day, every day, forever.

        LarryG has not one shred of evidence that Northern Virginia has allowed over-development relative to other successful and growing suburban areas in the country. He can’t point to systematic differences between NoVa and other fast growing areas.

        However, there are some facts to consider:

        1. The gas tax in Virginia has been frozen in cents per gallon since 1986. Our General Assembly is apparently too stupid to understand inflation.

        2. The Commonwealth Transportation Board sets priorities for spending transportation dollars. It has representatives by region in the state. The districts which the representatives serve have not been changed since 1935. Our General Assembly is apparently too stupid to understand democracy.

        3. Only one state has gone longer without raising its gas tax than Virginia. That state is Alaska – a state which receives vast royalties from oil and gas exploration. Our General Assembly is apparently too lazy to look at the approaches being used by other states.

        These are facts.

        At the core of the problem are two factors:

        1. A grossly incompetent and culpably negligent state legislature. In fact, Ballotopedia has rated Virginia state legislature elections as the the least competitive state elections in America. Our legislature is not just inept, it is corrupt as well. A combination of off year elections, excessive ballot requirements and a weak executive and judicial branch have made the legislature largely immune to voter rebellion.

        2. Dillon’s Rule. Localities in Virginia cannot even decide what length they can allow the grass to grow without asking Nanny Richmond for permission.

        The final point concerns the arguments used by logically challenged people like LarryG.

        LarryG claims that NoVa causes all kinds of havoc through poor development decisions. He conveniently forgets the transportation chaos in Tidewater when making these statements. However, more importantly – why doesn’t he favor the succession of Northern Virginia? If we cause all these problems, why not declare “good riddance” to the lot of us?

        LarryG doesn’t make these arguments because he knows that he and many others in the state are the beneficiaries of a vast wealth transfer.

    3. Here’s the other thing. What does NoVa stipulate that they “need” that they cannot “afford” (sic) that RoVa should pay for?

      The answer: MORE

      that alone should give folks some idea of what NoVa – in the top five of the richest areas in the Nation – WANTS – from RoVa where professionals like teachers and law enforcement make half or less what teachers in NoVa make – as well as NoVa receiving special cost of living “stipends” from the very same GA that they blame for not funding “enough”.

      1. I’d like to see the same rigor in traffic studies for all transportation projects beyond spot improvements that Fairfax County engaged in for Tysons. Otherwise, we are left with “MORE.”

  13. Potomac Clubber Avatar
    Potomac Clubber

    Sorry guys, I should of been a little clearer in my post. NoVA doesn’t want RoVA to do or give us anything. All NoVA wants is to be able to spend its tax money in NoVA. RoVA can and already does keep all its tax money downstate. Just let NoVA keep its tax money in North where it’s needed and stop wasting it all over the state where there isn’t any traffic. If you guys have time I encourage you to jump on Google maps right now and you can see the real time pain everyone up here is suffering this morning driving into work. My google widget is telling me I have a hour and 53 minute commute from Woodbridge to Arlington.

  14. Potomac Clubber Avatar
    Potomac Clubber

    Also for the guys talking about local leaders approving too much development. Please jump Zillow and look the home prices up here. Just imagine what they would be if NoVA waited for Richmond to find money to build roads first? The dirty little is that most of the people living in the Northern part of the state isn’t rich and they are struggling to get by.

  15. Potomac Clubber Avatar
    Potomac Clubber

    Sorry for my typos… I suppose blogging while sitting in traffic isn’t helping anything up here either.

    1. Hey, if bumper-to-bumper traffic is what it takes to get your NoVa insights on the blog, then it’s a small price to pay!

  16. ” . All NoVA wants is to be able to spend its tax money in NoVA. RoVA can and already does keep all its tax money downstate”

    numbers please. why do you assume the numbers? Do you think that RoVa does not pay taxes to the state at all?

    numbers please.

    ” Northern part of the state isn’t rich and they are struggling to get by.”

    compared to who? RoVa? Do you think RoVa folks who earn 1/3 or so what Nova makes is “struggling to get by”?.
    this is funny…

    ” You can have Dillon’s Rule or you can have a wealth transfer.”

    yet another excuse guys. Even Home Rule states have the State in control and they yield what they choose to not reserve and they can (and do) reserve (take back) if they feel like it’s not in the public interest.

    Home Rule does not give you the unfettered right to levy any/all taxes you wish – which I find quite strange coming form folks who support Ryan/Romney’s agenda anyhow, but I digress as they say!

    NoVa already has the right to levy several taxes that the rest of the state is not allowed to – with one proviso – they have to be approved via referenda – as it should be so it’s not like you do not have the right to do it – it’s that you must have the support of the citizens who would be taxed (especially for transportation) and guess what… the blame Richmond / succeed from the state folks just ignore such niggling details.

    NoVa no more “funds” RoVa that New York or LA “funds” the country. It’s where wealth is not a geographic location.

  17. but I would like to see an honest accounting of the claimed “donor” status of NoVa BEFORE we take your word for it – you know – trust but verify.

    I hear a lot of BLATHERING but little in the way of proof but it is after all the season of politics and damned lies are again in style!

    How about.. say a chart showing median (or average income) vs state taxes paid on a geographic basis?

    Got Proof?

    How about we quantify just how bad folks in NoVa “struggle” to get by?


    you know the REAL IRONY here about NoVa is that it is largely funded from treasury notes sold to the Chinese, eh?


  18. I’d fully support Home Rule in exchange for citizens have the right to vote to recall elected that they believe have veered off course.

    I would guarantee you that there would be no Home Rule Nirvana because the same folks in NoVa who currently refuse to approve a referenda to give elected more ways to tax – would step up and get rid of elected who took advantage of Home Rule to try to do that.

    NoVa has the right to levy an income tax right now and they have chosen to NOT put that question to their citizens.

    What does that tell you?

  19. Potomac Clubber Avatar
    Potomac Clubber

    Ok, I am only a humble blogger and can’t produce the numbers to back me up, but I think we can all agree that NoVA gives more then it gets back and even if we do get back more then 25 cents on the dollar we are subsidizing the Commonwealth with our tax dollars. Contrary to popular belief NoVA isn’t Democratic haven filled with tax and spend liberals. Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford and Spotsylvania County are all run by GOP dominated BOS. Their citizens don’t want to have to raise more taxes, we want Richmond to stop wasting money downstate and spend it where it’s truly needed.

    Also as far as numbers proving that everyone in the North isn’t rich and not struggling I don’t have any of those either unfortunately. Yes, the wages up here might be slightly higher then say in Richmond or Hampton Roads, but the home and rent prices are almost double. The apartment complex next to me is having a special for a SMALL two-bedroom for $1500 a month. Not everybody up here is some K street lawyer who can afford to live here without struggling. Yes, we house three (or four) major military installations. Ft. Belvoir, Quantico, The Pentagon and The Mark Center. Those bases do provide decent jobs, but nobody is living high off the hog where they have all this extra money laying around for new taxes. Also I can say that the North is totally saturated with homeless camps filled with people living outdoors. I don’t know the exact number of homeless in the area, I don’t think anybody does, I know there is at least 5 camps within walking distance from my condo. My 7 year old son calls the camp behind the strip mall were he takes his swimming lessons Loserville.

    Since I am unable to produce any numbers I did provide a couple of links as to the rent prices for apartments in Woodbridge. Keep in mind we are talking about Woodbridge here not some inside the beltway ritzy community.

    1. But until we change state law to authorize the recording and reporting of gas tax revenues by locality, how the devil are we going to know whether we are being screwed or not?
      Fairfax County has the authority to impose a meals that could raise $80 M annually at 4%. It needs to hold a referendum. It would also need to tell people what it planned to do with the money. Would it be used for transportation? If so, the school people might oppose it, as they tend to want the $80 M poured into FCPS.
      I also suspect that, if we were a separate state, there would be a very strong push to toll I-95 and I-66 to get people outside the state to fund the roads in part. It would be a very hard sell to raise the new state gas tax to help Virginians, Marylanders, etc. commute easier.

  20. re: ” but I think we can all agree that NoVA gives more then it gets back and even if we do get back more then 25 cents on the dollar we are subsidizing the Commonwealth with our tax dollars”

    how do we separate truth from blather?

    you’re not paying more as a region. You’re paying more because of individual wealth – and it’s taxed at the same rates as RoVa.

    and ….. you have no numbers other than cost of living – which you get a subsidy from the state for local employees who work for the schools?

    Do anyone here think that Home Rule cities do not pay state taxes?

    what you’re talking about with Home Rule is the ability for the locality/city to ADD MORE TAXES to what the state will still get.

    You can do that in NoVa right now. The only hitch is you have to get voters approval.

    Funny how these situations get all twisted around such that they don’t even represent the reality any more – but that seems to be the way that national politics is working also.

    Just design a narrative that is plausible whether it has any relation to the reality or not… and let people be stupid as long as it does not cost them more out of their pocket – or even better, they are led to believe that ….and do.

    That’s harder to do with local taxes, eh?


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