Your citation to BELTWAY BURDEN

is a real service.

Since moving to a Beta Village in the Countryside in 2002 EMR’s focus has been on understanding the economic, social and physical reality outside the Clear Edge around the Cores of New Urban Regions.

EMR was not aware of this work but it is a worthy successor to the 6th item listed in ANATOMY OF A BAD COMMUTE. In fact those little red “employment centers” are the “activity centers” that could grow to be the Cores of Balanced Communities.

BELTWAY BURDEN is consistent with all the well founded work EMR has seen over the past three decades.

There are a few problems:

The great graphics make the file very large to download and print.

The work was done just before the roof fell in vis a vis gasoline prices, so some will discount the work because gas in now “cheap.”

Of course the data is aggregated by municipal jurisdiction and there is some use of Core Confusing Words but one cannot have everything.

Someone needs to step up and look at these issues in light of the new reality. In the meantime all those interested in evolving functional human settlement patterns should have this in their libraries.


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31 responses to “THANK YOU LARRY”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Even I will agree that it is a useful document.

    It cold be improved, for example a good portion of the higher travel expenses noted for homees in the outlying areas is due to the fact that those people tend to drive bigger vehicles.

    As much as one half of the higher cost is due to this fact alnoe and has nothing to do with location.


  2. Well, last night I attended a VDOT/Transurban/Fluor dog & pony show that says that in 2012 location might well matter if one chooses to pay a toll to ride solo rather than ride the regular lanes or pool.

    but I suspect that the person that chooses to buy a solo trip on the HOTlanes .. can afford it and since it is discretionary, it will be self-limiting.

    and I would posit this – that HOT Lanes might actually have the effect of accelerating exurban commuting.

    Here's my reasoning.

    First – some folks will gladly pay to move from the untolled travel lanes to the HOT lanes if it gives them a reliable trip. Those whose wages accrue by time on task will find the tolls very cost effective.

    Others will see that they too can get a reliable trip for "free" by car/bus/van pooling.

    that will siphon traffic off the travel lanes – that might maintain LOS even as growth occurs.

    but here's where I think people, in general, might decide to jump ship on solo driving and go to pooling.

    Folks will try the HOT lanes – for one or two times to see how it works.. and if it "delivers" a shorter, more reliable trip, but they can't afford to pay every day – guess what happens?

    that's right. they see that they can get a shorter, more reliable trip by pooling.

    and this, in turn, might supercharge pooling… more buses, fancier buses, more slugging… more commuter parking lots, etc….

    and tons of cheap foreclosed homes also..

    all of this would be not so good for Fundamental Transformation.. "starving the burbs) – right?

    you'd actually have MORE folks commuting to the exurbs for "affordable" housing – rather than less…

  3. actually I had another question for EMR.

    If the “right sized house in the right location”

    includes homes that are near “shared vehicle” facilities –

    would that include the use of “shared vehicles” 50 miles from work – as long as they still lived in a “right sized” home?

    In other words – is there also a requirement that the “right location” not use shared vehicle systems for home to work commutes?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    “that will siphon traffic off the travel lanes – that might maintain LOS even as growth occurs.”

    I think you are dreaming. The studies predict that fewer people will car pool, feeling that the expense of the toll is less than the “expense” of the carpool.

    We are really adding only one more lane (and that at the expense of the breakdown and safety lane), so the overall additional capacity will be close to nil.

    Finally, there are already agreements in the contract that suggest transurrban will get paid for carpools if the number is too high, and the average travel speed need only be 45.

    The average commute time will hardly be any different after the HOT lanes as before, and the only difference this is going to make, in the grand scheme of things is that Transurban is gong to take home a lot of our money in thr form of new, non-government taxs.


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    “”shared vehicles” 50 miles from work “

    You still keep talking about this as if these people are “the problem”.

    In fact the averae commute is only 27 minutes and a lot less than 50 miles. Those long distance travelers are a small portion of the total and many of them are only temporary as they work on changing their plans.

    For example, I have several neighbors who did long distance commutes, but they had recently bought retirement properties here and they were in the process of “winding down” their final years and work schedules. It wasn’t as if they had bought properties here to raise their kids and family for 20 years.


  6. RH – here’s what I suggest for you to do.

    Go to I-95 South at Garrisonville Rt. 610 in Stafford county at 5 p.m. on a weekday.

    and then report back…what you saw…

    really.. go do this one afternoon…

    after you do that …and then continue to insist that only a “small number” are at issue then I would say that YOU would be the one who is dreaming and then would ask others to go do the same trip and report back on which of us is dreaming.

    Virtually ALL of these folks on I-95 at Rt 610 have commutes much longer than the “average”.

    If you:

    1. – are going to have more growth

    2. – cannot build significant additional capacity to handle more cars

    what would you suggest beyond attempting to get more people to car/bus/van pool?

    what are the realistic options?

    no mumbo chumbo.

    no endless blathering

    no robe-a-dope

    short, succinct answer

    what are the “realistic” options? 100 words or less.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    Don’t want to hijack your thread Larry

    My answer have more jobs in I-95 corridor

    Like I said above the HOT Lanes are being built for the commuters. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to not build the HOT Lanes and have jobs where the people actually live.

    Now here is a new wrinkle that I have’t seen brought up before. Assuming the jobs were brought to Fredricksburg housing demand and prices would shoot up. So then in effect wouldn’t you just be displacing another set of people kicking the can further down the road as these people moved further out in pursuit of cheaper housing.

    See Tysons as an example. In the 1970s cheap land and housing no jobs. fast forward 30 some odd years and you have jobs but no more cheap housing.

    Anybody see a way out of this paradox.

    Still curious about Rays answer to Larrys question

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    “To escape the gridlock, cities have to choose smarter ways to grow. They should add buses and trains, suggests Mr. Schipper. Limiting traffic in narrow historic roads and creating job and shopping centers near housing can help.”

    Lee Schipper
    Transportation Expert
    Stanford University.

    Notice that he said nothing about HOT lanes.

    Add more trains and buses (where they make sense)

    Create Job centers (and shopping centers) near existing housing.

    So my answer is the same as his More (and much, much better) mass transportation. We need to entirelyre-think and re-engineer this so that it offers halfway decent competition to the auto. Start with guarneteed seats, and move up the quality chain from thare.

    Move jobs to where people live and stop trying to create heroic, and episodic peak transportation systems. If you have too many people going to the same place at the same time, then THAT is the problem, not how to get more people to car pool.

    We have plenty of roads that are little utilized: let people build the activities where the roads are that will make the roads cost effective. EMRs answer is just the opposite: don’t build anything there and then tax the pants off the people who do because their roads are not cost effective.

    If you really beleive that car pools or jitneys are part of the mass transportation system, then PAY people to operate them. the reason our carpool lanes are underused now is that they don’t PAY enough – the “costs” of operating a pool outweigh the benefits.

    This isn’t that hard to figure out: just open your eyes and look around, keeping you rcanned dogma in your shoe somewhere.

    I’ve been promoting the same answer for years, but some people either don’t get it or don’t want to get it because they have some other social agenda that this answer does not fit.


  9. Anonymous Avatar

    I think that kicking the can down the road is the inevitable result of physics and people: you can only put so many in one space and have that space work reasonably well. EMR’s view of physics is a lot different than mine.

    We can have differences of opinion about what works reasonably well: some people even think that New York and Sao Paulo work……….

    But, I would suggest that we can make a list of metrics and then use those metrics to create an unbiased view of what works and what doesn’t.

    Unbiased of course except for the choice of metrics. EMR for example claims that the higher prices paid for urban floor space proves that this is where people WANT to live.
    Aside from being wrong on the face of it, I’d suggest that this is only one Metric: you probably need some kind of average of 20 to 50 such things to get a snapshot of what works in general, as opposed to what doesn’t work at all. Some kind of Gross National Happiness index, as Jim Bacon and I have discussed before.


  10. Anonymous Avatar

    So, what about trains anyway? We could easily have spent almost the entire new stimulus bill just on creating a new network of high speed trains.

    “The Senate’s revised stimulus bill provides $2 billion in funding for a high-speed rail corridor, as well as another $1.1 billion to upgrade existing trains. Altogether, big-ticket rail investment only makes up about 0.3% of the bill’s total outlay…….

    The Senate’s $2 billion isn’t just small compared to the total package; it’s tiny compared to the costs of developing high-speed rail. California approved a $10 billion bond issue last November for a rail line linking San Francisco to Los Angeles. Spain (with help from Brussels) has spent about 20 billion euros–$25 billion—just on its three latest high-speed rail projects. The Millennium Institute, a non-profit, figures developing a new U.S. high-speed rail network would cost $250 billion to $500 billion.

    But aside from the convenience of bypassing airports and cumbersome air travel, what are the environmental benefits of high-speed rail? That’s a little iffier–because it depends on what powers the trains and how full they are.

    A 2006 study figured the U.S. could save 2.7 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions if it built high-speed rail corridors across the country; the savings would come as people ditched cars and airplanes for travel of about three hours or less.

    Basic, diesel-powered quasi-high-speed rail means one-quarter pound of carbon-dioxide emissions per passenger-mile. Using more efficient, French-style high-speed trains would cut per-mile emissions to 0.15 pounds. Air travel emits 0.62 pounds per passenger-mile, the report found. But the overall reductions from high-speed rail would still be a tiny fraction of overall U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions.”

    Notice what this says about the efficiency (AND THE COST) of trains: it depends on how full they are. Airplanes emit only about twice the CO2 per passenger mile than trains, a fact that surprised most people. Of course they are travelling five or six times as fast in the process. And you don’t need to build a dedicated high speed roadbed for $500 billion.


  11. re: “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to not build the HOT Lanes and have jobs where the people actually live.”

    All due respect NMM… tell me how you would do this?

    Isn’t this idea about the same as trying to tell people where to live… telling businesses where they can be or not be?

    If Microsoft wants to open up a 1000 employee tech center in Tysons are you going to tell them to get lost and go build in outer exurbia?

    who would tell them this?

    how would they enforce it?

    I suspect also the good professor was quoted prior to the concept of HOT lanes also but even if he was not – it does not mean that the HOT Lane concept is not practical.

    As far as the Fredericksburg Area is concerned – all the local governments have designated substantial portions of land along the I-95 corridor as Tech Zones – with incentives in addition to access to I-95, high-speed communication and other business-friendly inducements.

    You can’t make them come.

    It’s not just about a pool of highly-skilled employees – which the Fredericksburg area DOES have – it’s about the business environment itself.

    Most companies want to be where other companies have located – the “multipler” effect of cross-pollination.. networking, partnerships.. etc…

    you can’t do that if you stand pretty much alone out in kookamonga… or what seems like kooamonga to the company leaders.

    We can’t even get the Pentagon or Homeland Security to put parts of their agencies in the Fredericksburg Area – even though we have Quantico to the North, Dahlgren to the East and A.P. Hill to the south.

    Culpeper Va is doing better than us – they got the Library of Congress film library and a tech company that provides what is known as hot site computer backups…

    What we have.. is Geico…largest area non-gov, non-medical employer I believe…

    the rest of second and third tier businesses lower down on the food chain…

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    “You can’t make them come.”

    Nonsense. You have zoning laws that do all kinds of things. Just don’t let them overoccupy certain areas and they will HAVE to go someplace else.

    You could easily justify that just on air pollution requirements. You can’t build new roads in a non-attainment area, so why in gods name would you allow a new job center?

    You are just like the luddites in Fauquier. They don’t want business because business brings people and that means you will have new neighbors, and it will cause youre quality of life to decline which THEY have no right to expect.

    You would much rather have HOT lanes that no one can afford to use because that will (supposedly) have the effect of emptying F’burg out as they move to Springfield or something, and leave you in retiremnent heaven with low assessment and low taxation.

    Come on, Fess up. Your whole argument is based onselfish motives.


  13. what would be my selfish motives?

    We already have the people and the overcrowded schools and roads and would love to have the jobs – local rather than 50 miles up the road.

    but I ask again:

    “…Just don’t let them overoccupy certain areas and they will HAVE to go someplace else”

    Tell me how you do this – in Fairfax ….

    the non-attainment is already in effect guy.. no more roads if they result in exceedance of the pollution budget.

    That does not keep companies from locating in Fairfax…

    I know of absolutely no place in the entire country which tells business that they are not welcome and to go elsewhere.

    But perhaps you do know… so tell me how this works…

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    “We already have the people and the overcrowded schools and roads “

    Supposedly, the HOT lane tolls will incentivise these people to leave F’burg, and move closer to their jobs in the “urban” areas.

    If that happens you can forget about moving jobs to F’burg.


    Right, nonattainment is already in effect for roads, so there exists a method, but it does not apply to jobs, just roads, and the way it really works (I think) is that they withhold federal money for roads in nonattainment areas which meand they cannot be built.

    Same idea. Withhold federal funds fo contractts in non-attinment areas, and see how fast those companies pack upa nad move. See ow fast teh jurisdictions get serious about cleaning up their air.

    And there is plenty of reason to do this, since BUILDINGS emit (or are responsible for)almost as much pollution as autos.


    But, HOW you go about it is secondary.

    FIRST you have to get general agreement that this is a legitimate way to reduce congestion, waste, and pollution.

    SECOND you probably have to unwind or redirect an awful lot of angst that has been built up through the chorus of voices singing out against sprawl and explain why this isn’t sprawl inducing. Or at least how it is better than the alternaative. That shouldn’t be too hard after the HOT lane tolls hit.

    (Hint to the next Republican Governor hopeful: remember waht happened to the unpopular car tax? The HOT lane tax will be even more unpopular. Make a big promise you cannot keep, and win the election.)

    THIRD you would have to do something about all the NIMBYs in F’burg who would much rather see HOT lanes and see half their existeing residents go back to Fairfax or wheever they came from.

    FOURTH you would have to beat out ever other jurisdiction that wants the jobs.

    And after you solve all of that you can start figuring out how to actually make it happen.


    I know of absolutely no place in the entire country which tells business that they are not welcome and to go elsewhere.


    And I know of absolutely no place in the entire country which has too many jobs that doesn’t have huge congestion problems.

    You think MAYBE the two of them are related? If the enviros and greenies were less interested in punishing auto drivers and eliminating cars and more interested in looking at the real problem, then maybe they could figure this out. But, they are too interested in railing enedlessly about the SOLO SUV driver……

    First you have to believe that this is doable and reasonable: then you can worry about finding a way to make it happen.


  15. Anonymous Avatar

    Why will people hate the HOT lanes tolls? They will be voluntary. The HOT lanes will add capacity to the highways and will take some vehicles, including vehicles with 3 or more occupants that will ride for free, from the roads. The HOT lanes will also provide faster travel for buses — that also get some more vehicles off the road. Those results would be a positive. (Of course, the local politicos can undo all of the good by granting huge increases in density, but that’s not the fault of HOT lanes.)

    I would agree that HOT lanes would not be as desirable as if they were “free,” but there’s no way VDOT can raise enough tax money to build more free lanes. If the HOT lanes move traffic better, they will be generally accepted.


  16. The HOT Lanes will provide at least 3 options for commuting – without taking away existing options.

    People who moved to exurban areas – if given a choice between moving back or exercising one of the choices that HOT Lanes provides them – will not move back as long as the dollar costs between the higher cost of housing nearer to work is more than the higher costs of commuting to a much less expensive house.

    The potential of HOT Lanes if for more people to decide that it is in their own best interests to get out of the solo car – much more.

    which will have the effect of taking more cars off the road at rush hour – in effect reducing congestion.

    The days of adding more and more capacity to serve more and more solo commuting as population growth occurs – are gone.

    The money is gone and the pollution levels capped so the only logical path to accommodate more population and business growth is more multi-passenger vehicles for everyday rush hour commuting.

    The idea of the Feds or Fairfax or any NoVa jurisdiction hanging out a sign that says “we are closed to more businesses” is ludicrous on it’s face.

    So.. RH.. is saying that the solution to worker “sprawl” is force businesses to “sprawl”.

    This is the same fellow who is hard over on the property rights issue.

    So.. RH is opposed to telling people what they can do with their land – but he is willing to support a concept that says, in effect, “don’t bother buying this land for your business because we’re not going to let you put your business there under any circumstances anyhow”.

    sounds like the advocacy of “property rights” is ..what.. not very consistent… at the least…

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    “Virtually ALL of these folks on I-95 at Rt 610 have commutes much longer than the “average”.”

    You would not catch me dead at Garrisonville at 5 AM. Been there done that.

    But even if what you say is true, it is a local problem. Those long distance commuters are still a small part of the problem, a very samll part.

    The average commeute is still what it is, and that cannot be denied. All we can figure is that either those people from garrisonville are dumber than average or they have some other compelling reason to endure what they do.

    For one thing, we don’t know where those people ar going. they might work at Quantico for all we know. I get on 66 a long way from downtown, but that isn’t my destination. It is just too easy too make gross generalizations.


  18. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, I suppose you heard the report this mornig about HOT lanes and how they are expected to SLOW the current trip as experienced by car poolers?


  19. Anonymous Avatar

    I’m not so much “hard over” on property rights as I am hard over on stealing. It is government sponsored stealing when you reduce the value of someone’s property for some alleged public purpose without compensating for the loss.

    Not only that, but in the absence of compensation there is no disincentive for the government to engage in taking property for a “public benefit” when there actually is none had the loss to individuals been considered. In other words, it is a waste of resources and therfore not “green”n not to mention uneconomic.


    Which is more sprawl, moving 100,000 people fity miles or moving 50,000 jobs fifty miles and then moving only 50,000 people fifty miles?

    What I think is that our definition of sprawl and our perception of sprawl is all wrong. it is as EMR would say a core confusing word. If we had sprawl that was more balanced we might not find it near as onerous or distasteful.

    I would say that adding jobs in F’burg or Manassas reduces sprawl. However, most people won;t see it that way because of the way the anti-sprawl advertising campaign has been conducted.

    In effect, that campaign has shot itself in the foot, because all of the proposed fixes have failed, or failed to materialize so far. Now that some planners are finally including “moving job centers” as part of the dialogue, that whole “anti-sprawl” and “anti-growth” campaign is going to have to be scaled back.


    “The idea of the Feds or Fairfax or any NoVa jurisdiction hanging out a sign that says “we are closed to more businesses” is ludicrous on it’s face.”

    And why is that? It is because businesses are seen as a net tax benefit and residential is seen as a net tax loss.

    And why is that? Because the tax structure is highly inequitable. One result is tha we charge hihg taxes to business and then forgive them as incentives to locate in our area (because they pay more than they cost, which isn’t true after we forgive the taxes)!

    So take EMR at face value and actually charge residences AND businesses what they cost. One of the (locational) costs of business is the huge costs of transportation to serve them where they chose to locate.

    And, of course, if you taxed both business and residential at face value, you owuld have a lot less need for extensive proffers and other anti-growth tools – unless you just don’t like growth an dmoney really is a shibboleth, redherring issue.


    “The money is gone and the pollution levels capped so the only logical path to accommodate more population and business growth is more multi-passenger vehicles for everyday rush hour commuting.”

    That would be right up there among the stupidest and most illogical things I ever heard. Inthe fist place, more multi-passenger vehicles will push us past the pollution cap just as surely as more single passenger vehicles will.

    Despite their “potential” for pollution savings, in practice they reduce pollution verylittle and cost a lot more. My contention is that if it costs more it is becuase more resources are used and therefore it pollutes more. this does nota ALWAYS hold true, but pretty generally, it does.

    The money isn’t gone. We make more money everyday. We have just been spending it on other priorities. We have failed to increase our funding at the same time we have been increasing our obligations, and at the same time we have increased our uses for roads dramatically.

    This isn;t a matter of hanging out a sign that says we are closed to business, you are hanging out a sign that says our safe and conveneint capacity is full. Same as we require of nightclubs or hotels. Same as we do with stream capacity, and same as we are about to do with HOT lanes. (Only with HOT lanes we are giving away the profits).


    What we have is basically one answer that might work: use more space to create more places.

    What you are doing is saying that can’t work, so the only choice is to continue doing what we have done.

    Which hasn’t worked either. To continue that seems incredibly dumb to me.


  20. Anonymous Avatar

    “The potential of HOT Lanes if for more people to decide that it is in their own best interests to get out of the solo car – much more.”

    I can practically guarantee you that HOT lanes will result in fewer car pools, not more. If the result you think willhappen works out, then the State will wind up paying Transurban for “excess car pools”.

    I thonk we would be better off to just pay people to operate car pools and leave Trnsurban out of it, but we are far too late for that.


  21. Anonymous Avatar

    “The days of adding more and more capacity to serve more and more solo commuting as population growth occurs – are gone.

    The money is gone …”

    Yeah well:

    “The top two leaders of the Illinois House and Senate began paving the way Tuesday for increasing the state’s gasoline tax.”

    The same is happening in other states as well. the money is not “gone” everywhere.


  22. Anonymous Avatar

    "The Democratic-led Assembly passed a broad package of legislation designed to restrain increases on rent-regulated apartments statewide. The legislation would essentially return to regulation tens of thousands of units that were converted to market rate in recent years. In addition, the legislation would reduce to 10 percent, from 20 percent, the amount that a landlord can increase the rent after an apartment becomes vacant."

    You still think we can't control where businesses do business? You think for a minute tose Landlords won't consider moving out of Albany?

    You think the legislature even considered compensating the landlords for the loss in value of their property? After all, passing this legislation was a "public benefit" right?


  23. Anonymous Avatar

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence”

    John Adams

    “The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property.”

    “Government has no other end, but the preservation of property.”

    John Locke

    “…others have charged that even if such legislation is well-crafted to ensure that people are not compensated for not doing what they have no right to do in the first place, the net effect will still be either a restraint on regulation or a drain on the taxpayer. To that charge, there is a simple, straightforward answer: That is exactly as it should be– exactly what the Takings Clause is for. That is why the Framers put the clause in the Constitution–to restrain government or, failing that, to make the public pay for the goods it wants rather than have the costs of those goods fall on individual victims, as they do today.

    C. Paying for public goods. Just as there are no free lunches–someone pays for them–so too there are no free public goods. As noted earlier, every regulation seeks to bring about some public good. Some of those goods are brought about in the course of securing our rights. A good deal of the environmental legislation that Congress has passed, for example, amounts to just that, to prohibiting people from violating the rights of others. That kind of regulation is thus not reached by the Takings Clause.

    Other regulations, however, cannot be justified as bringing about anything to which anyone can be said to have a right. We do not have rights to views, for example, even lovely ones, unless we own the conditions that give rise to those views. So too with greenspaces, or historic sites, or habitat for endangered species, and much else. None of which is to say that those goods are not good or valuable. They may very well be. But as with anything else that may be of value, we must obtain those goods legitimately. We cannot just take them. Yet that, too often, is what we do today.

    Taking something that way does not make it free, of course, except to us. To the person from whom we take it, our action is very costly. Those who are concerned about the effect of takings legislation on the taxpayer, therefore, are asking the wrong question. The proper question is not how much such legislation will cost the taxpayer but how much the goods we acquire through regulation are costing period. Right now we have no way of knowing because we have driven the accounting “off budget.” The direct costs are borne by the millions of people we prevent from using their property. The indirect costs, in unrealized opportunities, are borne by all of us. In neither case do we have the remotest idea of the costs. Yet those costs are nonetheless real–as occasionally successful litigation on the first category of costs makes clear.

    But our inability or unwillingness to account for the costs of the public goods we acquire through regulation has another effect as well, namely, that we demand more of the goods than we otherwise would if we had to pay for them. Not every species may be worth preserving–except, of course, if its preservation is “free.”

    The Takings Clause, then, was a brilliant stroke. When they wrote it, the Framers realized that there would be times when the public would have to achieve public ends by taking property from private parties. That “despotic power” of eminent domain had to be accompanied, however, by just compensation, for only if the victim was made whole would the power have any semblance of justification. To do otherwise would be to make the individual bear the full burden of the public’s appetite.

    But the compensation requirement served to discipline the public’s appetite as well, for without it, the demand for public goods would in principle be infinite. That is exactly what has happened today. Without the discipline that is provided by the compensation requirement, regulations have grown and grown. It is time to rein in that growth as the Framers meant it to be reined in. The public appetite has been undisciplined for too long and the victims today, both direct and indirect, are too numerous to let this go on any longer. “

    Statement of
    Roger Pilon, Ph.D., J.D.
    Senior Fellow and Director
    Center for Constitutional Studies
    Cato Institute Washington, D.C.

    before the Committee on Environment and Public Works
    United States Senate

    That statement was made in 1995, and it is more true today than it was then.


  24. so… how would you compensate the companies that you told could not locate in “overcrowded” places like Fairfax”?

    Is the concept of “More Places”, essentially a “taking”?

    One blog post with one or two sentences would suffice.

  25. Anonymous Avatar

    Ok time for some reality checks

    EMR fails because having more housing closer in is too expensive to both build and price and there is no political will for it to occur from existing residents due to the increases infrastructure costs and stress on the transportation network

    RH and NMM fail because in NoVa land no business in their right mind is going to relocate from the inner core to Manassas or Fburg

    TMT fails because the slug system already works and there is no need for HOT lanes.

    Larry fails because the majority will never support tolling roads

    This whole website and all the commenters fail because true location costs will never be realized due to too many competing intersts see EMRs many tombs explaining the different estates

    So where does that leave us???

    Our reality there is an inbalance of jobs and housing almost everywhere. Traffic is out of control. Fixing anything is going to be very expensive and at best will only keep up with the problem and more likely will only slightly reduce the speed of the problem from getting worse….

    And yet more and more people continue to move here and enjoy living here and stay here. If you took a survey of people living in NoVa and Fburg I bet most people would be pretty happy with their situation.

    So in the end why are we all blabbering again. Maybe its time to step back and enjoy life more. Things really aren’t that bad especially when compared to 95%+ of the rest of the world.

    Enjoy the weekend


  26. Anonymous Avatar

    “how would you compensate the companies that you told could not locate in “overcrowded” places like Fairfax”?”

    I think you set a cap and trade tyoe situation, like you would for anything else in short supply: nonattainment areas, stream capacity, HOT lanes.

    How would you compensate those who cannot afford to use the HOT lanes, or who are turned away when the lanes fill to capacity?

    Same question, isn’t it? For some companies it would be worth it to pay to continue to locate there, for others it would pay to accept payments and locate someplace else.

    But, just like car pools anr anything else, if WE want someting to happen the WE had better be willing to pay for it to happen. The Car Pool lanes are underused because the “cost” of operating or using a car pool is too high relative to the benefits.

    We could have simply paid people to operate and ride in car pools for a whole lot less money than we are going to give Transurban to fleece us.

    First of all you have to want something to happen. Then you have to figure out a way to pay for it. Our current mode of operations is the opposite: well we’ll just penalize anyone who does something we don’t like. The first case is a freee market at work, and the second case is a taking.

    NMM is correct: there is no massive push for anything other than what we have: too many competing interests. And probablby for good economic reasons, except for the massive funds we expend to create and maintain parts of the transportation system that we use twice a day.

    If we simply redirected that money in more useful ways we could probably make most of the people NMM mentions even happier than they are. No one I know actually enjoys spending two hurs a day plus $20 bucks on VRE or the Shirley Highway.

    WE do have more and more businesses locating away from the core. There are some pretty big enterprises in Manassas now. I’m not sure what F’burgs problem is. What we don’t have is very much federal space moving out, yet.

    EMR is probably right when he says that financial conditions will eventually cause changes, but I think he has the time scale all wrong: it is going to take decades, maybe tens of decades.

    That is outside my event horizon, so I don’t worry about it too much, Id rather step back and enjoy life a little more, if only the do-gooders who wnat to do their good with my money would let me.


  27. Anonymous Avatar

    Think of the city like the internet or cell phones. we used to have big central telephone switches and big central computers. Now those things are much more decentralized. Soon the same thing will happen with production of electricity.

    I suspect the same thing will happen to big central cities and they will be dispersed to smaller and more efficent Nodes of Activity. Already the largest cities seem to peak out at ten million or so, and that may be far beyond the optimal size. i can easily imagine that smaller groupings of a 200k to a half million or so would be far more efficient, and pleasant. Think Durham, Spokane and Richmond compared to Detroit and Los Angeles.


  28. re: “How would you compensate those who cannot afford to use the HOT lanes, or who are turned away when the lanes fill to capacity?

    Same question, isn’t it? “

    are you equating BOTH of these things to property rights?

    The question I asked you was if you support the concept of “more places”, do you think telling companies where they can or cannot locate has anything to do with property rights.

    answer please.

    one sentence.

    not 14 paragraphs and 12 blog posts…

    is it or is it not a property right?

  29. Anonymous Avatar

    are you equating BOTH of these things to property rights?

    We used to have the right to use our property (state and county highways, that we paid for). Now we will have to pay transurban for that right.

    You tell me if there is a property rights issue here.

    Any time you have a transaction, proerty rights are at the bottom of it.

    Eiterh you paid for those rights and you own them, or you didn’t. If you paid for them you expect the government to protect them for you, and you expect to support the government in its efforts.

    Otherwise you either steal the property from someone who already paid for it, or you simply proclaim a new right, like conquistadores planting the flag on new shores.

    Those days are pretty much gone, and even by the time of Captain Cook, he was directed not to claim any new lands without the consent of the natives.

    Look, If I’m building something for the government they give me a set of specifications. they also give me a list of documents that apply, all of which may have additional specifications. Before I can turn my product over to the government I have to go through all those documents and certify that all the specifications are met. If I get 99% done and the government issues a n3w document, with a new spec I have to certify, then I can send the government a bill for that change.

    Why? because I entered into the contract with a certainset of expectations: the known specifications.

    Likewise if I buy property (any property not just real property) it comes withthe property and a description of the property, but it also comes with certain common expectations. You buy a car you expect you can drive it in any county and state.

    If your state suddenly says (after you buy the car) that you can only drive it in your home county, they have reduced the utility and the value of your car, for which you should be comensated. They have “taken” your property for some “public use”.

    Just because my neighbors in neighboring counties make the claim that I am damaging “their property” by driving my car in their county does not give them the right to take my property without compensation.

    We both own shares of stock in a company. If I sell my shares it will affect the value of yours, but that does not mean you have the right to tell me I cannot sell my shares. We cannot confuse ownership with fungibility.


    Any time you have a transaction, proerty rights are at the bottom of it. Suppose we suddenly imposed a job density restriction on certain areas. We would owe the comanies there something for changing the rules on them. But we wouldn;t owe anything to new companies that wanted to move in.

    Now, it might turn out that by creating the restriction we actually raised the value of their property. Those outside companies wanting to move in would be willing to pay a premium to get prime space. Then that premium might be enough to make ti worthwhile for “our” comapny to pack up and move to F’burg.

    Suppose you wanted to reduce the job density by 30%. You could issue density credits to each company for 70% of their job force.

    They could either buy job credits from other companies n order to keep their employees, or move some of their employees out. Or, they could move them all out and sell their job denwity credits. Or they could pay a fine like an overweight truck. You could use the income from the fines to pay people to car pool, or otherwise upgrade the transportation system needed by the employers.

    What we are doing is all wrong, and it is because we don;t recognize who owns what,or properly defend it.


  30. so the concept of “more places” – how does that rank in terms of property rights?

    It seems to me to be 100 times worse than telling someone that they can build SOME things on a property whereas “more places” says that you can’t build ANYTHING on it if it has employees who travel by car.

    I would say that on a scale of 1 to 10 that more places is a 10 times more egregious assault on property rights than zoning is.


  31. Anonymous Avatar

    “”more places” says that you can’t build ANYTHING on it if it has employees who travel by car.

    Where do you get this stuff? Not from anything I ever wrote.

    I think “places should be designed for cars AND transit however the mix works out most economically. EMR is the one who thinks we shoud design places to exclude cars or charge them enough extra to pay for transit.


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