Transportation and the Virginia General Assembly

Because of the ongoing debate in Richmond, Fauquier and Prince William Counties have put their planning on hold (here) for the Buckland/Gainesville bypass. Moreover our own Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) is not happy with what they have thus far seen. As the Washington Post’s Prince William Extra Reported this weekend, our BOCS “voted unanimously last week to oppose a transportation plan proposed by Republicans in the General Assembly that would raise local taxes and fees to pay for road and transit improvements.” In a latter article in the same edition of the Prince William Extra, the paper noted the BOCS’ specific objections.

In the meantime, the Senate has thrown another monkey wrench into the mix (see here). A bipartisan (synonym for big spending) group of senior (synonym for needs to be term limited out of office) state senators plans to introduce a bill that would count on a sales tax on fuel to fund the building and upkeep of roads. The proposed bill would add 5 cents per gallon on top of the existing 17.5 cents per gallon tax.

The problem with this proposal is that we supposedly already have a gas tax to pay for roads, but the General Assembly will not spend that money on roads. As this blog has noted before (here and here), tolls and users fees should be used to fund transportation projects. Without such a direct connection between taxes and spending, we will never get what we pay for. Once the General Assembly has our money, it will spend it however it wants (particularly that bipartisan group of senior state senators). Fortunately, our county officials have gotten the message, and they are dead set against a tax increase (here).

We also need to consider other alternatives (Plan B). One being considered by the General Assembly is impact fees (here). Naturally, the developers oppose this.

Please contact your legislators (see here), particularly your senior state senators, and let them know how you feel.

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