Transportation news links

Not THE Gas Tax, but a Gas Tax Increase
Another Round of Tax Increases
An Opportunity for Truly Smart Growth in VA

“Over the long term,” Kaine told the General Assembly, “the most important single change we can make is to reform the way we plan at both state and local levels.” He added, “Our current system, in which local governments make land-use decisions and the state follows behind with transportation planning and funding, creates a situation where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.”

The bad news is that, while the governor’s diagnosis is generally correct, his solution focuses too much on what not to do. The language about development and growth is not about wisely directing it, but rather about slowing it, curbing it, even halting it.

In advocating more investment in transportation projects, especially adding lanes or building new roads, the governor has missed the opportunity to tie transportation investments much more explicitly to state, county and municipal land-use policies and practices.

Kaine plan on Traffic Unleashes Swift Blitz

It “would in fact result in a complete moratorium in the construction of new housing in Northern Virginia,” (said)  home builder W. Craig Havenner …

Havenner refused to give up: “We don’t believe that the right approach is to shut down the economy while we catch up from 20-plus years of a complete lack of funding, particularly in the transportation area.”


More on the two WP articles later.

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1 Comment

  1. Ray Hyde January 21, 2006 at 00:25

    J lewis published an article in the Post today about “An Opportunity for Truly Smart Growth in Virginia”

    In it he says the governors plan focuses too much on what not to do.

    True enough. Yet he goes on to say that various new growth management strategies could be developed.

    He says “Half the battle could be won if the state simply insisted on timely cooperation and coordination among land-use and transportation planners within a region, and also among regions.”

    Doesn’t this leave out one significant group of stakeholders?

    He offers them a nod by saying, “…Virginia home builders, and the governor as well, might support legislation enabling use of transferable development rights.”

    Well, isn’t that just ducky. Large swaths of land have recently been enormously downzoned, for free. aNow they want to come in and buy the remaining “rights”. It seems to me that this proposal will put the government in a very sticky ethical situation.

    On the one hand we have heard for years the rhetoric about money grubbing land-owners who think it is their birthright to make a killing on the family farm. Now suddenly the government wants to buy rights they previously claimed didn’t exist.

    Besides, transfer of development rights still means that an enormous state directed transfer of wealth is going to occur. A one-time payment is not going to cut it. If planned development really results in long term cash flow savings to the government, those cash flows are a result of “renting” the vacant land. those people are going to have to get a share of the action, not a buy-out.

    And why do they want to do this?

    “Under such a system, developers can purchase density rights, granted under existing zoning to a property in a “sending” area, and transfer those density rights to a property in a “receiving” area, where increased density is desired but not permitted under long-standing zoning.”

    Desired by whom? TMT? An awful lot of zoning is actually not all that longstanding. The present 50 acre zoning around here is a recent artifact compared to the age of the farm. The “long standing” zoning is actually a result of political activity on the part relative newcomers.

    Who is going to make and enforce these plans? Lewis doesn’t say but “Plans must map out not only transportation networks, but also places for housing, education, health care, shopping, employment, recreation and, equally important, environmental conservation.” and he thinks it should be done at the state level.

    Guys, Listen. Oregon tried that thirty years ago, and those laws were overturned in a landslide by a peoples referendum – twice. And the reason was because people couldn’t plan their own lives, and landowners were getting screwed.

    Let’s don’t go there. Didn’t we just spend most of our adult lives watching the prolonged collapse of planned economies?

    Lewis has some sense of fairness. About making developers pay for infrastructure, he says “This strategy sounds appealing, but it is basically unfair. It forces new-home buyers, tenants and businesses to pay a disproportionate share of the costs of off-site public infrastructure improvements that are part of a community-wide system serving all citizens, not just the newly arrived.” which is a point I have previously made here.

    There is a lot that is appealing about this smart growth nonsense. The problem as I see it is that we are nowhere near “smart” enough to know what is smart and what isn’t, let alone what is fair and what isn’t. We have already demonstrated our confusion about “rights”.

    Calling it smart growth is a cute trick, after all, who wants dumb growth? But we need a lot more knowledge before we can be smart: until then, it is all theories.