Transportation/Infrastructure news

This week, Messrs. Kaine, Kilgore and Potts, candidates for Governor, visited Charlottesville. Transportation issues remain one of my most important issues, because (selfishly) I am directly affected every day and this is ultimately a quality of life issue for my clients, thereby once again directly affecting me and my business.

From the DP

Lieutenant Gov. Kaine is standing firm on a promise to veto new transportation revenue “unless the trust fund is locked up.”

I cannot argue with this. Government, hardly a bastion of trust and integrity with our money, does not have the finest record of 1) using our money appropriately or 2) relinquishing our money when the tax’s needs have been met. If he will be a man of honor and abide by his promises, he will be a rarity in the political profession. Sorry about the bolding, but it is important to highlight how easily politicians can and do spend money which we earn.

In the meantime, Kaine said he would consider spending surplus money and pursue public-private partnerships for new roads.Good man. He could also consider refunding said surplus money to the people.

Discussion on the above issue.

From the DP

The Transportation Funding Options Working Group, comprising local business and civic leaders, was convened in November to prioritize outstanding transportation projects deemed necessary to keep traffic moving in the urban area and recommend ways to pay for them.

A draft of the report lists nine projects as priorities for funding, including Hillsdale Drive Extended, the Meadowcreek Parkway, public transit improvements, the Southern Parkway and the Eastern Connector. Altogether these nine projects are about $100 million short of the requisite revenues for realizing them.

Also on this list are improvements at the 29N/Hydraulic/250 area and a study for the Fontaine/Sunset area of the City/County. My biggest concern is that the City and County need a mediator. If the City is going to put up barriers to be petty, how can we expect them to cooperate on projects of this scale?

“We’re, I think, close to unanimity on a fairly extensive list of things that can be done locally … that are currently allowed by the Virginia legislature,” said Harrison Rue, director of the MPO. “There are two or three [options] related to generating new revenues that will definitely require both more community discussion and require permission from the legislature to implement.”

Unanimity is often a good sign. These “options” are new taxes, hopefully specific to this region, that will help pay for these much-needed improvements. Stay tuned.

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  1. Duane Gran August 16, 2005 at 14:13

    I don’t want to inject too much interpretation into Harrison’s statement, because I have a good deal of respect for him, and I think it is a complex issue. That said, I think he is referring to a conundrum where much of the funding must come locally but the authority to enact transportation measures come centrally from Richmond. I’ve seen this view, especially with regard to transportation, espoused often in Charlottesville.

  2. Jim August 16, 2005 at 14:21

    What would be beneficial is if the State legislates into existence a regional authority with the ability to levy local taxes that would be used locally. The state will frequently match funds as well, something I believe that Albemarle has taken advantage of in the past.

    This way, both the authority and money would be mostly local. Always being dependent on others leads to poorly designed and implemented projects.