Kaine to tackle growth

Enlightening story from the Washington Post this morning.

In his first policy address to the General Assembly, the new governor will urge passage of a law that gives local governments the right to halt housing construction if roads are not adequate.

Kaine also will acknowledge the need for more money to build wider highways, buy more buses and trains and erect bridges. But he will not suggest an increase in gas or sales taxes or offer specific legislation that details how he thinks the state should raise the new funds …

“I am proposing initiatives that better link land use and transportation decisions so that uncoordinated development doesn’t overwhelm our roads and infrastructure,” Kaine says …

One would require developers to submit a standardized traffic impact statement whenever they request a rezoning. That would give the Virginia Department of Transportation and localities the ability to monitor the cumulative impact of development across the state.

A second proposal would strengthen the state’s office of intermodalism, which is responsible for ensuring that people and goods can make connections between ports, airports, roads and rail lines. The office would get more resources and more accountability, the adviser said.

Kaine also will promise to convene a bipartisan commission to set measurable goals for spending on transportation “so that we invest in the most critical projects first, ensure that the traveling public gets the most for their money, and holds elected leadership — you and I — accountable for the performance of our transportation network.”

More bureaucracy, more hoops and no clear roadmap (pun intended) of how to pay for these goals. The ends may be worthy and commendable, but the methods do not seem to promote efficiency and efficacy. It will be interesting to see how these initiatives impact our region. The full article is here as well.

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1 Comment

  1. Ray Hyde January 16, 2006 at 23:50

    The most intelligent thing Kaine has said about our transportation dillemma is that it threatens our prosperity.

    As TMT has pointed out, properity is hardly the biggest problem Fairfax faces. but the arguments he promotes in Fairfax are being used equally in places where they don’t apply or certainly apply in a different manner.

    According to the Post kaine would require developers to submit a standard traffic impact statement whenever they propose a rezoning. nothing wrong with that except another incremental increase in home prices to pay for doing VDOT’s job. The few who buy new homes will provide information that benefits all. This is hardly a way to promote the idea that people should pay for what they get.

    A second proposal would increase emphasis on intermodalism. I have said before that Rail to Dulles is a lousy idea, except for its impact on intermodalism, so no problems here. At least none that we can see yet.

    A third goal is to set goals for accountability in transportation spending to ensure that we spend on the most urgent projects first. The problem with this is that it will likely result in all the money going to fix highway bottlenecks. Since there is not enough money to complete even a few of those, transit, bike and pedestrian promoters will be mostly left out. Business as usual.

    But if he allows local governments to halt construction based on supposed inadequate roads, and without a plan to adress that problem, then he is throwing in the towel on the states economy, disrupting people’s hopes and dreams, and doing nothing to solve our current traffic mess.

    Nobody likes change, but if you try to restrain pent up forces with no way to release the pressure, you can go from a wildfire to an explosion in short order. Of course the other option is that your warm pleasant hearth cools to cold ashes and a few glowing embers.