Suburban Insurgency: Bacon’s Rebellion Is Here

The June 12, 2006, edition of Bacon’s Rebellion has been published. You can read the issue here. Here are today’s columns:

Parking Madness
Virginians spend multi-millions paving parking spaces. Most of the investment in asphalt sits idle. Worse, sprawling parking lots destroy any sense of community or place.
by James A. Bacon

Hunting Dogs and Disclosure Documents
The knowledge economy could give Jeff Foxworthy a lot of new material.
by Doug Koelemay

The Politics of Seeming to Care
American politicians pander to the populace, telling them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. In this year’s transportation debt, Virginia’s lawmakers are no exception.
by Patrick McSweeney

Let’s Have a Televised Debate
We can’t trust the media to fairly characterize the transportation debate. The best alternative may be a three-way debate between the major contenders.
by Patrick McSweeney

Creativity Behind the Scenes
Despite budget disagreements that grab the headlines, Virginia lawmakers are coming to quiet agreement on several ways to make government work more productively.
by Michael W. Thompson

“June Will Come Soon”
June is a time to celebrate life, youth and rites of passage — and a time to count our blessings as free men.
by James Atticus Bowden

Nice & Curious Questions
Grave Matters: Cemeteries in Virginia
by Edwin S. Clay III and Patricia Bangs

Teen Spirit: Kenton Ngo
by Conaway Haskins

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5 responses to “Suburban Insurgency: Bacon’s Rebellion Is Here”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Wardrup would have more credibility as a “reformer” if he didn’t engage as a pork barreler himself. Witness his budget proposal to give private Virginian Wesleyan College $1 million of taxpayer money “for the development of the Platinum Green Laboratory Science Building. With this facility, the college will conduct environmental research and implement a broad-based ‘green’ curriculum.” Or how about $700,000 to the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation. This is “reform?”

  2. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    McSweeney says

    “The tendency to bribe people with their own money.”

    I love it.

    Put it in the same category as taxing the guy behind the tree, or as I put it: “A subsidy is an incentive you disagree with.”

    “A 1990 Brookings Institution report concluded that so long as some pay less than full costs to use the transportation system, congestion will continue regardless of how much we increase spending.”

    That’s true, but another later Brookings report also states that transit users pay a lesser proportion of their full costs than auto users. Furthermore, if that thought is taken to its logical conclusion and we actually charged full costs for each mode, then rail transit would largely disappear, bus transit would have considerable consolidation into the most profitable routes, and auto traffic would increase slightly.

    Metro has thoroughly proved to us that rail not only does not decrease congestion, it just creates congestion of its own kinds. One result is cars with fewer seats and another is trains that can’t run on time because they interfere with each other. And you are right, money does not decrease congestion either, but it isn’t a question of who pays or what mode they use that solves congestion.

    Both of those approaches are barking up the wrong tree. Clearly it is employment centers that cause the most identifiable form of congestion: everyone trying to go to the same place at the same time. Today on WTOP there was a story citing the condition of many who will be redeployed at Fort Belvoir, and how their commute will be reduced. This is clearly an example of dispersing the job center to reduce costs and travel. Saying that spending more money won’t cure congestion is probably true, but it is a meaningless statement without some credible alternative, which McSweeney does not offer.

    Under the pretending to care idea, did anyone notice the letter from the woman with a raccoon problem? The county would not come and trap the raccoon. After she trapped it, the county would not take the animal away because it wasn’t in a county trap. Then they sent officers to inform her that trapping an animal was illegal (as is releasing an animal) and she could be fined or imprisoned if she continued this behavior.

    Such a caring government we have.

  3. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    “Unmet transportation needs continue to increase far beyond existing revenue sources despite tax increases in 1983 and 1986. That widening gap was acknowledged shortly after both of those tax hikes were enacted. The same gap-widening will occur again if more money is simply poured into the old transportation approach as a result of another tax hike. “

    What am I missing here? According to McSweeney we have unmet transportation needs, and previous tax increases were insufficient to meet the needs. If we spend still more money we still won’t be able to keep up with the needs needs, therefore we should spend no more money.

    Doesn’t that make the gap widen faster rather than slower? Or are we making tha value laden assumption that only demand management can solve “the problem’?

    Presumably the unstated argument is that we should only spend more money if it is spent according to the McSweeney formulae, which is nowhere described.

    I have a hard time buying that argument.

    Without hard demonstrable evidence that the McSweeney formulae, or the Bacon formula, or the Hyde formula is any better than what we have (The Avaricious Developer formula?) or will be better some time in the forseeable future, why upset the apple cart that created the most wealthy (and destructive) society the world has ever seen?

    McSweeney vaguely proposes that more private enterprise can solve our problems. We should look to our own history to see where that leads. Didn’t we begin the the situation where the state takes care of our roads exactly because of the fact that private enterprise was taking us to the cleaners?

    Don’t we still have a place called Double Tollgate for exactly that reason?

  4. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Re Parking Spaces. The rezoning request from the owners of the Tysons Corner shopping center to add significant amounts of office and residential space also proposes to add 9000 new parking spaces to the existing 7000. None of the new parking spaces would be available for the shopping mall. The 128%+ increase in parking spaces would all be for the offices and residences.

    I struggle to understand how this “new urbanism” would reduce traffic problems in and around Tysons Corner. Seems as if we are making it worse!

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