Taking a Week Off from the Rebellion

Adios, amigos, it’s spring vacation here in Richmond and that means travel. First to Wilksboro, N.C., to visit my wife’s grandmother and celebrate her 100th anniversary, and then to Jackson, Wy, to see my daughter and take in a little skiing. Truth be told, my wife and son will be doing the skiing. I don’t ski. At my age, I figure I’m too old to learn without inevitably taking a tumble and shredding the ligaments in my knees. I might try padding around in show shoes for a while, but that’s the extent of my adventurousness. Some rebel, huh?

The General Assembly still has unresolved issues that I won’t be able to comment upon, but I’m not terribly worried. For all the posturing of both sides, the budgetary issues that differentiate the Donkey Clan and Elephant clan seem pretty small. The real action will come later this year — whenever Gov. Timothy M. Kaine decides to call a special section of the General Assembly to address the melt-down of last year’s transportation funding package.

Sadly, I see little evidence that anyone has learned much of anything from this debacle. But devising a rational, user/beneficiary pays system for transportation funding is absolutely critical. The funding piece is only a partial solution to Virginia’s transportation challenges — there is no escaping the transportation-land use nexus — but it is vital nontheless. We need to inject more money into the system, but we have to find a way to do it that doesn’t perpetuate the dysfunctional human settlement patterns that are such a big part of the problem.

If structured properly, a user/beneficiary-pays system can provide financial inducements not only for people to modify their one-driver-one-car lifestyles but for developers and local government practitioners to embrace more transportation-efficient land use policies. I expect to devote close attention to this issue when I return.

Until then, I will check in sporadically as I can. Otherwise, I will leave the blog in the competent (and, hopefully, inflammatory) hands of Ed, Peter and our other contributors.

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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Jim, they have these little short training skis. They turn easy and don’t go fast. The instructors make it easy, and make you feel like Jean Claude Bacon.

    or, there’s always the snowmobiles.


  2. Anonymous Avatar

    When you get to Jackson, plan on spending mo’ money.

    Federal land agencies have been imposing new fees and increasing existing ones at recreation sites across the West in an effort to raise tens of millions of dollars.

    Unlike the National Park Service, which has routinely charged admission and other fees at its parks, the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies have historically been less aggressive in imposing such assessments.

    “Our government wants to charge us $5 or $10 to go for a walk in the woods — our woods,” said Kitty Benzar of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, in Durango, Colo. “We don’t think it’s right.”

    Kind of sounds like those people who pay for roads, and then object to user fees, doesn’t it?

    Based on a story rom the NYT.


  3. Groveton Avatar

    I just saw the “too old to ski” comment. C’Mon Jim – you are as fit as a fiddle. I stopped skiing for 25 years and then started again when I was 42. Took a few spills but no serious injuries. Key is to start on Green slopes.

    If you are going to keep going back to Jackson, you need to learn to ski. Either that or bull riding. Maybe trout fishing in the Summer. Actually, the more I think about it, the better Wyoming sounds.

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