Interesting transportation bills

Impact fees.

Requires the Commonwealth Transportation Board to establish and apply an impact fee in any locality or region where pursuant to a comprehensive review, it determines that transportation needs are not being adequately met.

Not a bad idea. Keep local tax money … local.


B. The governing bodies comprising the transportation district may agree to impose a local tax to be used exclusively by the district in order to accomplish its purposes. Prior to becoming effective, the tax shall be approved by two successive governing bodies of each locality, with an intervening election occurring between the votes of the governing bodies. The tax need not be approved by voter referendum.

I had a poll in the sidebar a little while ago that read: How much would you be willing to pay in a regional sales tax that would be used solely for regional transportation needs?  Came to the very unscientific conclusion that locals would be willing to pay 2 cents per dollar in regional sales tax. Might this be a preliminary step in that direction? Could the City and County even agree?

A Commission to oversee an Agency (who probably oversees a group who oversees a task force …) If they truly were interested in “efficiency” they would practice the act of being succinct.

2. To study, on a continuing basis, the operations, practices, and duties of state agencies with transportation responsibilities as they relate to efficiency in the use of space, personnel, equipment, and facilities;

No wonder the perception exists that nothing gets done in Government.

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  1. Ray Hyde January 22, 2006 at 19:04

    Impact fees sound appealing, but are basically unfair. They force 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.

    Economists who have studied impact fees conclude that half the value of the fees comes from new residents, and the other half comes from existing residents in the form of lower land prices. Because impact fees raise the value of all homes through the re-assessment process, they amount to a capital gain to the owners of existing dwellings.

    No wonder they are popular.

  2. Jim January 22, 2006 at 22:12

    As an existing homeowner,

    impact fees raise the value of all homes through the re-assessment process, they amount to a capital gain to the owners of existing dwellings.

    I kinda like this 🙂

    Where is the balance between existing and new buyers? It has to be there, and I am inclined to think that a regional (in addition to a state) sales tax is a solution.

  3. Larry Gross January 23, 2006 at 09:05

    lemme see… a fair and equitable solution with respect to the need for new infrastructure is … one that requires everyone to take equivalent money out of their own pockets to buy it – even if they don’t use it or need it.

    Isn’t that like saying that taxpayers, not shareholders should pay for business infrastructure because any/all business infrastructure is by virtue of it’s existence a cost-effective delivery of services that people need even if they don’t agree?

    Isn’t that equivalent to confiscation?

    Isn’t the true price of something what it costs for you to own it without others helping you to pay for it?

    Let’s tax everyone to pay into a fund for Redskins tickets and then give them to those that don’t want to pay full boat for them.

  4. Jim January 23, 2006 at 10:42

    Sarcasm noted, and appreciated.

    Infrastructure is one of the few things that government has an obligation to provide. Unless one is a hermit who lives off the grid, every citizen benefits from an efficient infrastructure.

    What solution do you propose for the transportation situation we are in?

    Income taxes are a form of confiscation, one of the reasons I support the FairTax. How we allow the government to use our money is the question. Inadequate infrastructure and land planning have us where we are.

    My question is – how do we solve it?

  5. Ray Hyde January 23, 2006 at 12:35

    Well, If we require private industry to provide all the infrastructure the new homes they build require, then won’t industry own the infrastructure?

    Larry Gross indicates he doesn’t want to pay for infrastructure he doesn’t use, but since it benefits us all, that is kind of hard to swallow, or at least to measure.

    That new fire station at the other end of the county doesn’t help you directly, but the impact of fire losses shows up in your insurance bill.

    Then there is the question of who paid for infrastructure that Larry does use. Imposing impact fees at this late date is kind of like drawing a line in the sand between present owners and future owners. If you live in the country and provide your own well and septic, do you pay the same impact fee?

    One of the problem with impact fees is that their cost is assesssed based on certain assumptions at the beginning of the asset life. The costs are not only front-loaded, but the assumptions don’t hold true over time, so they are overcharged as well.

    Here are two proposed solutions. The argument that homes don’t pay their own way is probably wrong, but what is true that an influx of new homes causes large capital expenses to the government: again, up-front charges. But that infrastructure will be there for generations, and there is no reason future users shouldn’t expect to pay for it as well. The suggestion is to limit impact fees to the cost of borrowing the money, and let the capital cost be absorbed into the tax base over time.

    The second suggestion is to let private industry build, and own, the infrastructure. With current wireless billing technology, we can all be billed for just the infrastructure we use. You can bet that private industry will be more adept at billing and collecting than the government. Since schools are big part of the bill, they should be privatized first. In its fullest implementation this idea would amount to privatizing government, which is abdicating it’s responsibilities anyway. We would then all live in company towns, just as we used to.