Virginia’s New Governing Principle

“Had it been a stand-alone vote, I don’t think you would have seen Bill Howell voting for the gasoline tax down in Hampton Roads,” he said. “The idea that a local government can be drawn into this transportation authority in Hampton Roads even if it doesn’t want to, that doesn’t sit well with me, either. But in the scheme of things, I support it.” –Bill Howell (R-Fredericksburg), Speaker of the House of Delegates. (From: “Virginia ‘s anti-tax champion took a road less traveled,” The Virginia Pilot, 3/26/07)

There you have it folks! Bill Howell tells us how Virginia will be governed in the future!

Individually, these bills can’t pass. So you simply bundle them together into mammoth bills and go for an up or down vote so that legislators can’t cherry-pick them.

And what about the single-object rule of the Virginia Constitution, you may ask? It just gets trampled along with the Republican principles and other nonsense, such as lower taxes and smaller government.

Any potential candidates out there willing to challenge Bill Howell in a primary this June?

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6 responses to “Virginia’s New Governing Principle”

  1. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    I agree.

    We are headed in the wrong direction. HB 3202 should be vetoed and we should start over.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    So you think the single-object rule applies, then sue. ask a court to order them to follow the rule, see if they agree.

    it always puzzles me when people claim a constitutional violation and then twiddle their thumbs.

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    It’s an interesting thing.

    How does a region plan, build and
    maintain regional roads that cross jurisdictions?

    Do you want a situation where a single jurisdiction can essentially veto a region-wide transportation plan?

    The Feds accomplished this with the interstate system because they controlled the funding and had the right to assert authority over localities.

    But for Regional road networks – how are regional decisions made with regard to funding and decision-making?

    The Feds mandated regional MPOs which required a regional authority to decide road planning and funding issues – and yes it is done by majority vote – not unanimous vote as far as I know.

    But note the state also allows the creation of regional authorities IN ADDITION to the MPOs.

    For instance, NoVa has the NVTA. But in the case of NoVa, it is part of a multi-state MPO and so the NVTA is NoVa’s representation.

    But I’d point out that voting membership in the NVTA can be different than voting membership in the TPB – the Wash Metro MPO.

    So -they’re gonna create a HR/TW Regional Transportation Authority that, if I understand correctly will directly collect the revenues from the new regional taxes and fees. (and I guess the NVTA will do likewise in NoVa).

    So….. there seems to me to be overlap and redundancy between the Fed-mandated MPOs and the State level transportation authorities.

    In effect, the MPOs can overrule the state-created transportation authorities of project selection – although I cannot imagine why jurisdictions would vote one way on the state regional authority and a different way at the MPO level.

    This is not an entirely “new” thing by the way as the state had already allowed the creation of transportation authorities voluntarily among cooperative adjacent localities even if the makeup of those authorities would end up different from a Regional MPO.

    so.. someone is going to step in and sue the state over it’s power to allow the creation of transportation authorities?

    Oh – you say it’s the part about forcing unwilling jurisdictions to accept majority vote…

    well.. the state can do exactly what the Feds do .. at the MPO level and basically it is that you play by the MPO rules or you don’t get Fed money….

    so.. that’s all the State has to do to make this legal.. just allow jurisdictions to “opt out” but in the process.. they also opt out of the money…

    I’m not saying it is totally a a true democratic process – where those that vote for road projects the public does not want – can get voted out of office… they can’t.

    So that is not a good thing at all in my view but I think the fight against it is very much upstream.

    allows the creation of transportation authorities like NVTA and PRTC.

    Both the Feds and the State assert jurisdiction by holding the revenue purse strings since the money is allocated – not by the localities but from top down from the Congress and GA via collected taxes.

  4. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Cmon Reid, we knew way back in 1997 during the LRT debate that this was going to be the end result. The authority gets created, the MPO merges into the authority, and then the authority becomes a full fledged regional government. We discussed this ad nausium on Talknet for years, until most of us got sick of it. The only mis-step they made was when they thought it would fly on the ballot. It didn’t, so plan B was to impose it by fiat. You must remember that referenda are only binding when it addresses the politicians interest. If at first you don’t succeed, turn it into a law.

    That’s been the scheme all across the country. So why should it be different here? The only question is when the GA will approve the MPO transfer, and the creation of regional government.

  5. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Here is a link to a VA Beach petition to lower real property rates. While the GA is busy adding more taxes to the citizens of this region, perhaps it is more telling to read the comments of the petitioners.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    This really is a significant and thorny issue.

    Hampton Mayor Ross A. Kearney was quoted:

    “The governor and the General Assembly are supposed to do transportation.”

    ipso facto

    But here’s the reality.

    Gas tax revenues are already dedicated to maintenance with virtually nothing left over for new construction.

    WHERE will new money come from and who will pay?

    There are those, and I am one, that felt that collecting money at the state level and re-allocating to localities and regions never was a “good” thing to start with.

    The connection between land-use decisions and transportation consequences actually encouraged localities and regions to NOT PLAN for the inevitable consequences.

    Localities were free to approve growth willy-nilly without giving a thought to how they would move traffic and when problems inevitably arose, they had an easy whipping boy – VDOT.

    It was/is a joke. Localities across Virginia have a Comprehensive Plan that shows projected land use and the proposed roads and in the two columns entitled “completion date” and “funding source” – they have TBD.

    This is what they call a “plan” and they claim legitimacy because they have the VDOT 6 yr plan to “prove” that the planned roads actually exist on a statewide planning document.

    So .. in my mind .. this is where the phrase “The state does transportation” comes from – an unwillingness to assume responsibility for planning.

    They want to approve land-use but they want nothing to do with the traffic consequences.

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