Greater Greater Washington

Virginia needs a tea party to overthrow Agenda 639

It's time for Virginia residents to storm the harbor of their state capitol and throw the tea overboard. Last week, Governor Bob McDonnell signed a transportation bill that massively expands the hand of government and overrides local decisions about how communities should grow and change. How's that for big government?


The Gadsden flag, from Wikipedia.

SB 639 has an unprecedented, frightening provision that lets the Commonwealth Transportation Board, appointed by the governor, override a city or county's own plans. Localities will have to include transportation projects the state wants, no matter what the local residents of that area think.

It's astounding to see this from a supposedly conservative governor and state legislature. One of the most common­sense principles of current conservative movements is smaller government.

The national, and Virginia, Tea Party holds as a fundamental principle that "Governing should be done at the most local level possible where it can be held accountable." Individual counties and cities ought to be able to decide how they want to grow, or not grow. Loudoun, Charlottesville, and Roanoke should make these desicisions instead of the state government in Richmond.

Tea Party groups have been alarmed about "Agenda 21," which they say is a United Nations plan to undermine property rights. There's no UN conspiracy (though planners shouldn't be too quick to dismiss the underlying fears), but Virginia has a very real assault on liberty happening today. Call it Agenda 639.

Agenda 639, or Senate Bill 639 as passed into law, forces each county to match local transportation plans to dictates from the Commonwealth Transportation Board. If a locality doesn't want a particular transportation project, too bad. If VDOT spends money on the project anyway and a county rejects it, they have to reimburse VDOT, even if the county never wanted the project in the first place.

That's not all. Virginia has for many years used a formula to allocate transportation money to the various counties and cities. That gave local levels of government more say over their transportation. Agenda 639/SB 639 moves hundreds of millions of dollars out of the formula, giving the CTB unprecedented control of how it's spent. The governor in Richmond will now have more power to spend tax money than local leaders. That's the opposite of "the most local level possible."

If Virginia's small-government conservatives aren't alarmed at this, they should be.

One of the debates on the national transportation bill is to what extent the federal government should mandate that states and localities spend money on specific types of projects, even if those are projects, like paving sidewalks, that many people support to improve safety and economic development of an area.

The House transportation bill simply eliminates these set-asides. This has led many people in cities where people walk and bike in large numbers to worry that their state departments of transportation would refuse to fund such projects.

A bipartisan amendment from Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) found a common sense and small government approach to this issue: let local communities, or regional metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), choose how to spend the money themselves.

This is the right strategy for both liberals and conservatives. There's little enthusiasm for making more transportation decisions in Washington. Even in Washington, we'd rather make the transportation decisions at 55 M Street, SE (the District Department of Transportation headquarters) than inside 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE (the US Department of Transportation), 2 blocks away.

Look at the saga over streetcar tracks on the 11th Street bridge. Federal regulations made it impossible for DC to put tracks on a bridge, a project local voters supported and would have paid for with local money. Too many transportation projects are too expensive and take too long because of federal rules.

Let's get rid of many of these federal rules and give the power to "the most local level [of government] possible." Transferring federal power to big state governments isn't enough to advance liberty. Give the power to local counties and cities.

With this bill on his record, Bob McDonnell might well turn out to be Virginia's most big-government governor ever. Let Northern Virginia decide what Northern Virginia wants, let Hampton Roads choose what's best for Hampton Roads, and let the Appalachian west set its own course.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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I think you are hitting the right notes -- and maybe the wrong audience?

McDonnel is doing what every two bit governor does -- pushing the bill down the road. We are going to be paying for his mess for a long long time.

I don't think the tea party cares about local rights, just state rights.

by charlie on Apr 16, 2012 10:31 am • linkreport

Has the Tea Party done anything significant in Virginia?

by selxic on Apr 16, 2012 10:37 am • linkreport

Time for Arlington secession. Le Bloc Arlingtois!

by darren on Apr 16, 2012 10:39 am • linkreport

Arlington should be accompanied by Fairfax and Alexandria if secession ever occurs (maybe eastern Loudon and eastern PW, as well). Never going to happen, though... : (

by Nikolai on Apr 16, 2012 10:41 am • linkreport

This isn't anything new. This isn't frightening either. Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, and this is how it works.

by Jeff Dailey on Apr 16, 2012 10:43 am • linkreport

So, Arlington - how's that retrocession working out for ya? Alexandria, care to chime in? Our door is always open if you ever decide to come home.

@darren: le Bloc Arlingtonais... I like that. Were this Canada, NoVa probably would've ditched the Democrats a while ago and started their own party.

In all seriousness: a great pitch. It is absolutely unacceptable that local governments have had this control taken from them by Richmond. This needs to get into papers 'round the state.

by OctaviusIII on Apr 16, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

Isn't this part of a greater trend across the nation by Repub governors as revenue for car infrastructure goes down and Republican governors refuse to raise tax, that they start raiding other coffers? Isn't this another version of Christie raiding the ARC tunnel funds for Jersey roads so he doesn't have to raise taxes? The car-infrastructure beast must be fed...

by dc denizen on Apr 16, 2012 11:01 am • linkreport

I agree with this article. It is ridiculous that Richmond already robs 81 cents on the dollar of the northern virginia area, returning only 19 cents to us so they can build pet projects for their loyal conservative leaning jurisdictions like Fredericksburg, Gainsville, and of course the route 460 road to nowhere costing all taxpayers of the state 500 million dollars. Why is there no outrage over this instead of 150 million that will pay for itself from increased airport revenue and reinvestment?

All the while the state capital is an urbanists dream of roads NOT DESIGNED BY VDOT. The largest road being Route 1 through the heart of the city which is a tiny by vdot standards 6 lanes wide with 11' lanes instead of 12'. Things that Northern Virginians want for traffic calming in urban regions like Vienna and Tysons. Not to mention designs such as pedestrian bulbouts and better connectivity in grid design... all elements that VDOT has been telling the public are poor designs.

With all of this poor design in Richmond you would think it would be a traffic nightmare, after all they dont receive the hundred million dollar mega projects that we do, and dont have a freeway through town. You might be surprised (or not surprised if you are intelligent) to find out that Richmond continues to be a top 5 city for the least traffic and fastest commutes.

Well but Richmond doesnt have as many people as we do. Actually its almost spot on the similarity between the two areas. The difference is proper and dense land use in the urban heart and a willingness to avoid huge highway projects that just spur people to live further away. Things that now that VDOT has there way means nothing to them (seeing as their jobs are assured by a continued glut of highway projects).

Congratulations Richmond your mission to retain economic dominance over the much more important and relevant Northern Virginia region is really finding headway with political means (too bad you couldn't do it through free market and economic means like your politicians pretend to support).

- Your local cynic of all things VDOT/Richmond

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 11:02 am • linkreport

were arlington to consider unretroceding, they would have to negotiate a deal to have to seperate counties in DC, Arlington and Washington, to retain the countys autonomy on education, and (at least for the moment) to limit district level taxatation that could be used to equalize the two school systems at Arlingtons expense. Even if such a real were doable, there are issues with higher ed. IIUC the federal govt provides a subsidy to enable DC HS grads to attend UVA and UMd undergrad at instate rates. Would that still hold when the large number of Arlington grads at Va public institutions became an issue?

Within Va, the biggest opponents to unretrocession would necessarily be the Virginia Democrats, who face being out of power in Richmond for a generation as a result.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 16, 2012 11:03 am • linkreport

"Localities will have to include transportation projects the state wants, no matter what the local residents of that area think."
-----------------

As the history of transportation planning and policy in NOVA (in fact in the entire DC metropolitan area) has shown, too often the "local residents" are a vocal well-organized minority that's opposed to any and all road construction. These groups have had an infuence over planning decisions that's far out of proportion to their numbers simply because of their ability to organize,game the system, and influence elected officials.

SB 639 levels the playing field by ensuring that projects benefitting the greater good are no longer stymied by the efforts of small, loud groups of opponents.

by ceefer66 on Apr 16, 2012 11:04 am • linkreport

Instead of talking about how Northern Va. should secede lets talk about ways to fight/get around the bill to create the traffic solutions that Northern Virginians want to see that will hopefully provide the evidence needed to convince the governor/VDOT that they should consider other options besides expanding highways.

by Canaan on Apr 16, 2012 11:08 am • linkreport

All the Arling-holes who commented above are right to worry. They only reason this bill needed to pass is because you people kept blocking expansion of I-66 to protect your property values, which created a nightmare for the rest of fairfax. How are we suppose to develop in a smart way if this highway gets constricted, forcing all sorts of crazy sprawl over the surrounding counties, instead of a concentrated development along the I-66 corridor.

If you own property along that highway... time to sell.

by Traffic Guy on Apr 16, 2012 11:14 am • linkreport

Does this mean they will build that new bridge across the Potomac?

by goldfish on Apr 16, 2012 11:14 am • linkreport

Good post, Canaan.

by selxic on Apr 16, 2012 11:18 am • linkreport

@Goldfish -
Yes, the bridge over the Potomac (either Rt. 28 or 7100) is one of the items on the table now with this bill. But, I guess they will still need MD to help out on that side.

by Traffic Guy on Apr 16, 2012 11:18 am • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer

"With all of this poor design in Richmond you would think it would be a traffic nightmare, after all they dont receive the hundred million dollar mega projects that we do, and dont have a freeway through town."

====

That's not correct.

Richmond does in fact have several freeways through town - I-95 through the north side and the
the eastern edge of downtown; the Downtown Expressway from I-95 to I-195; I-195 on the west side; I-64 on the north and west sides.

@Tysons Engineer

"You might be surprised (or not surprised if you are intelligent) to find out that Richmond continues to be a top 5 city for the least traffic and fastest commutes."
======

Quite likely because of all the afore-mentioned "freeways through town". Not to mention the I-295 bypass and the suburban roads such as the Powhite Parkway and Route 288.

"Intelligent" indeed. And the result is - as you mentioned -that Richmond isa top 5 city for the least traffic and fastest commutes. Unlike metro DC where we have long adopted a policy of canceling planned highways and pretending Metro makes them unnecessary, thereby making our region the nation's worst-congested with the longest commutes.

by ceefer66 on Apr 16, 2012 11:19 am • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer,

The fact that richmond built an extensive freeway network in and arounf d the city to augment its urban grid is exactly why the city has so little congestion and short commutes. Especially considering that most of Richmond's commuters come from outside the city.

by ceefer66 on Apr 16, 2012 11:23 am • linkreport

@ Tysons Engineer:With all of this poor design in Richmond you would think it would be a traffic nightmare, after all they dont receive the hundred million dollar mega projects that we do, and dont have a freeway through town.

Excuse me? I-95/I-64 pretty much run *through* the railway station barely two blocks from the Capitol. I-195/VA-195 runs around the other side of town 5 blocks south of the Capitol. And then there's the tolled Powhite Parkway, VA-895 (intended as interstate) and the sprawl-inducing loop made up by I-295 and VA-288.

by Jasper on Apr 16, 2012 11:24 am • linkreport

"How are we suppose to develop in a smart way if this highway gets constricted, forcing all sorts of crazy sprawl over the surrounding counties, instead of a concentrated development along the I-66 corridor."

@Trafficguy (and everyone else who thinks this is deserved punishment for us "Arlingholes"), how do you square that with Richmond backing out of the Silver Line? Or how VDOT has separated consideration of 66 expansion from consideration of multimodal operations in the corridor?

by darren on Apr 16, 2012 11:26 am • linkreport

Look at the map of Richmond, those might go through the suburbs, but the suburbs isnt what matters (OH NO HE DID NOT JUST SAY THAT TO A BUNCH OF NOVA RESIDENTS). In Richmond proper, the part where traffic and density matters the most, it absolutely is not interrupted by a freeway.

Hate me if you like, the all the freeways remain on the outskirts, as opposed to VDOT design which puts them right through the arterial commercial business districts of towns.

PS road expansion is not "proper urban design" and why would Arlington support a project that helps people live in Stafford County. Please tell me why this helps Arlington in anyway? Its lose lose and the businesses, the health of residents, and poverty spread that is caused by having an overpass next to you is not worth helping Joe Dumbass in Fredericksburg save 5 minutes cause he was an idiot who bought that far away from his Job. Screw him, and screw anyone who thinks it is a god given right to impede on someone elses sovereign rights over land use.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

@ goldfish:Does this mean they will build that new bridge across the Potomac?

If by "they" you mean VDOT, then no. Remember that the Potomac does *not* belong to VA. VA starts at the high-water line. So, bridges need to be built by MD and/or DC.

by Jasper on Apr 16, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

@canaan

There are other issues people in arlington (and Alex, and to a lesser degree Fairfax) have with richmond that have nothing to do with transportation or housing - issues from gay marriage to commonwealth lawsuits on global warming and health care. If it were only transportation, well, while DC is on the upswing, the likely financial loss to arlington on taxes and education would probably be bigger than the transport issues.

Its an fascinating idea, because in addition to getting Arlington out from under Richmond, it would completely transform the District's politics.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 16, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

If Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington were given back the money we donate to the state we would be returned back with 5 times our current allotment for Transportation. We wouldnt need the state for capital funding anymore after the first year of recouping and banking these returns. All it would take is 1 year of temporary pain and a willingness to incorporate the entire county as a city (ie devolution of state control).

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 11:36 am • linkreport

Two things,

1. Yes Richmond has nice freeways around town, but the contributing factor is not the highways, its the fact that the population isn't large enough to overload it. Its not like we have crowded highways and an empty metro service around here.

2. Why is Arlington to blame for what happened in outlying counties? If you widened 66 to four lanes in arlington you'd still end up on E st. or Constitution in DC behind a 1000 stoplights. Rather than blaming Arlington the other jurisdicitions need to learn how to leverage their transit presence like Arlington did back when they put the orange line underground along Wilson. Fairfax has learned this and is doing so somewhat.

While still expensive (as is the whole region), Arlington has done a great job in adding density while keeping vehicular traffic the same. But clearly their success can in no way be repeated elsewhere and thus must submit to massive widenings of the two highways that already have a big footprint in a small area.

by Canaan on Apr 16, 2012 11:37 am • linkreport

Local control is good and fine when Conservatives are in charge (as they tend to make good decisions), but the State of Virginia is right to intervene when these liberal NIMBYs stand in the way of what "We, the people" want—more highways, more lanes, more cars, more freedom. Just as the Federal Government is in its rights to intervene when a State starts pushing a liberal (i.e. non-Constitutional) agenda.

Defund Dulles Rail, and put the money towards the "Second Beltway" and toward building more highways for those of us who use private transportation, which is how the vast majority of us get around. No one is going to take ridiculous streetcars to work or the mall. They are a prime example of a government boondoggle.

RINO Ray LaHood has been pushing a strange "livability" agenda, which he defines as "being able to take your kids to school, go to work, see a doctor, drop by the grocery or post office, go out to dinner and a movie, and play with your kids in a park, all without having to get in your car."

MY "livability" agenda involves being able to do all those things WITHOUT public transportation. Then again, I do not live in an urban center where parking is difficult to find, and where traffic is congested. Doing all those things (save going to the park, which can hopefully involve walking or biking) is more convenient and pleasurable by means of a car, especially when it involves a short drive and free parking in each case. If the drives are short, the gas bill remains low. 

As I see things the main advantages of using a car are: no waiting; no conforming to someone else's timetable; no having to first get yourself to a transit station, and no having to worry about my family's safety when returning on public transit from a night out at the movies. 

I once lived in an urban area in Germany for 12 years, and used public transit all the time, even though I and everyone I knew also owned a car. But here in the US, cars are the way we do things. Some people use transit to commute to work, but that's about it. Otherwise it's generally seen as a decided reduction of one's quality of life, compared to the mobility and flexibility afforded by automobiles.

There is nothing "smart" about public transportation. Check the payback numbers sometime. If you actually charge a fare that covers the costs, even just the recurring operational costs (not counting the billions of investment costs) no one will ride. That is the truth of public transportation. It is a product that no one wants to buy. Doesn't that say something about it as a solution to transportation issues?

by Bertrand C. on Apr 16, 2012 11:37 am • linkreport

@ Tysons Engineer: Look at the map of Richmond, those might go through the suburbs

If by "suburbs" you mean 3 blocks from the State Capitol, then you are correct. Odd definition of "suburbs" though.

Seriously, VA-195 is named the "Downtown Expressway".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Route_195_%28Virginia%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_195_%28Virginia%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_State_Route_76

BTW: Pointing out that you are not correct does not mean hate and that you can yell at us.

by Jasper on Apr 16, 2012 11:39 am • linkreport

Walker,

I can see reasonable discussions about it, I just don't think it will help much in the way of stopping this particular bill/problem. Even if you had a core group dedicated to the cause it'd take 50 years to see it through if it successfully met all legal challenges.

by Canaan on Apr 16, 2012 11:39 am • linkreport

@Darren -
The point is, they passed this bill because the individual counties weren't cooperating with each other. And if you look at the comments above, you see this thought process with the Arlingtonians (i.e secession, really guys?).

Also, I believe Loudon county dropped out of the Phase 2 silver line before Richmond did. Is that right?(Maybe more has to do with budget battles than smart-growth)

Richmond will most likely not do any better in development (maybe worse), but the counties are to blame here for not getting along. We invited this Goliath to our table.

by Tarffic Guy on Apr 16, 2012 11:40 am • linkreport

As the history of transportation planning and policy in NOVA (in fact in the entire DC metropolitan area) has shown, too often the "local residents" are a vocal well-organized minority that's opposed to any and all road construction.

First off, plenty of roads have been built and are being built in NOVA. The vast majority of transpo money in NOVA goes toward road construction and road maintenance. Second, if local residents would rather have transit than auto-oriented development, isn't that what they should get? Isn't that how democracy works?

They only reason this bill needed to pass is because you people kept blocking expansion of I-66 to protect your property values, which created a nightmare for the rest of fairfax.

The nightmare for the rest of Fairfax was caused by ill-conceived land use planning that resulted in auto-oriented development that requires long commutes through neighboring jurisdictions. If traffic is a nightmare in Fairfax and generally good in Arlington, wouldn't it make more sense to replicate Arlington's transportation policy rather than expand Fairfax's follies?

Fairfax's best hope for escaping its nightmare is the successful development of Tysons into a much larger jobs center. This way Fairfax residents wouldn't need to commute through Arlington to get to jobs/retail/entertainment. Also, with the Silver Line, many Fairfax residents will have alternatives to driving to Tysons. Unfortunately, this short-sighted legislation will make it far more difficult for Tysons to implement its carefully laid out plan for creating jobs and easing the traffic nightmare.

Fairfax Residents -- if you really want to give Arlington/DC the middle finger, build your own mini Arlington/DC in Tysons and then you won't ever have to drive through those pinko-commie places again.

by Falls Church on Apr 16, 2012 11:44 am • linkreport

"The point is, they passed this bill because the individual counties weren't cooperating with each other."

The counties DO cooperate with each other on many issues. But arlington and Alex opposed HOT lanes on 395 (which is the big deal, not I66)

" And if you look at the comments above, you see this thought process with the Arlingtonians (i.e secession, really guys?). "

Cause no one in Richmond has any respect for secession. Could they give Arlington the right to rename Jeff Davis highway then?

"Also, I believe Loudon county dropped out of the Phase 2 silver line before Richmond did. Is that right?"

No, its wrong, as Loudoun to this day has not dropped out of Phase 2. They are reconsidering it, and I think the bd of supervisors is to vote in June. And the cut in funding from Richmond may impact that vote.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 16, 2012 11:46 am • linkreport

"Fairfax Residents -- if you really want to give Arlington/DC the middle finger, build your own mini Arlington/DC in Tysons and then you won't ever have to drive through those pinko-commie places again"

I am 90% certain that the Fairfax legislative delegation did NOT push the provision referenced in the original post.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 16, 2012 11:48 am • linkreport

That's because Fairfax is starting to learn what Arlington and Alexandria did. They're better off leveraging their current transit strengths (the 5 metro stations they have/the coming silver line) into their development future than relying on promised highway lanes. If Loudoun and PWC can get on board then the NOVA delegation will be a force to reckon with.

by Canaan on Apr 16, 2012 11:52 am • linkreport

haha Defund dulles rail. You are clearly not educated on it. Dulles Rail is BARELY publicly funded. Most of it is coming voluntarily from land owners in Reston and Tysons not from taxes and from tolls (free market if you dont like it stay on VDOTs roads).

Less than 10% is public funds. Where is the private interest for a second beltway? Oh wait there is none, because it is the dumbest economic plan in the history of plans. Also defunding the measly 500 million in each phase of Dulles rail wouldnt even pay for 1/20th of an outer beltway, once again showing how inefficient Road networks really are at fixing traffic issues.

Learn something before spouting something.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 11:54 am • linkreport

@traffic Guy and others, As the first 'secessionist', i'll say that i'm not really serious about it. but the fact is that it's pretty perverse to live in a region that is the economic engine for the state, yet our ability to control what happens within our own borders is so very much impaired by the Commonwealth (Dillon's rule, SB639, etc).

@Bertrand C. that's all well and good. But you and I disagree. I think that implementing your view of the world serves no greater good, and seems to requires taking away my rights and my money, which SB639 does. The Commonwealth should heed a certain quote by native son Thomas Jefferson about the relative proximity of government to the governed

by darren on Apr 16, 2012 11:55 am • linkreport

@Canaan

I don't think lukewarm to urbanism Loudoun was on board either (of course they don't care about HOT lanes on I395)

My guess is that, despite the usual urbanist-antiurbanist wars on line, whats going on here is more about the current admin in Richmond being pissed at the current admin in Arlingon ("those bastards sued us personally") combined perhaps with general overreaching by VDOT, than it is about splits within NoVa on urbanism issues.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 16, 2012 11:56 am • linkreport

Walker,
I don't think it is urban v. anti either specifically in this case. But I do think that it is the northern Va. counties realizing that transportation is more than cars (and getting over the existential crisis of being a "suburban" county) while the Va. Government is having trouble distinguishing between higher spending ("all gov't spending is bad!" type rhetoric) and an actual investment in something other than automobiles. Meanwhile VDOT should be renamed to VDOAutomobiles.

Hopefully the success of the Norfolk light rail and discussion about extending it to Va. Beach can help swing the tide.

Basically you have the local counties saying "we need transportation help, we just don't think highway miles are the way to do it" and the state refusing to consider any other option. That does ultimately boil down to a lifestyle decision even though the difference between people's ideas about urban/suburban living are way more pronounced than they are in actuality.

by Canaan on Apr 16, 2012 12:05 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer

"In Richmond proper, the part where traffic and density matters the most, it absolutely is not interrupted by a freeway."
-----

"That is absolutely NOT TRUE!

Which map are you looking at anyway?

I-95/64 passes through Richmond proper - as someone else mentioned - 4-5 blocks from the Capitol. The Downtown Expressway runs right through town along the James River at the southern edge of downtown, I-64 westbound runs from just before the Chamberlain Ave. exit on I-95 north of downtown, through the north side to the city line at Staple Mill Rd and beyond into Henrico County and points west.

No one is "hating" here, but it's quite obvious that you have an agenda. Fine, but base your argument on the facts, not on what you wish were so.

Every one of the roads I just mentioned passes through Richmond proper - in fact they pass through the most dense part of town. And as for the suburbs "not mattering", another inconvenient fact is that the suburbs comprise most of metro Richmond's population (according to Wikipedia, the city population is 204,214 out of 1.258 million in the metro area) and suburban residents do most of the commuting.

I know. I've been traveling into Richmond since my sister and her family moved there in 1979. I lived there during the mid-1990's and I have clients in the area that I visit frequently.

I've watched Richmond grow over that last 30+ years. They have smartly and intelligently planned and built for its growth. Hate it if you want, but the fact that Richmond "has no freeways through town" is
HARDLY the reason why it isn't strangling in traffic congestion - unlike the NOVA and the rest of the DC region.

by ceefer66 on Apr 16, 2012 12:34 pm • linkreport

@Ceefer66

The reason is isn't strangling in traffic congestion is because they have the available land, and a small enough population, that they have found a way to build enough freeways to manage that demand. People take freeways to get everywhere, and everyone lives far out. Plenty of people in Richmond drive from the equivalent of Manassas to DC. My sister in law drives from Montpelier (way north) to Chester (south).

The reason this works is because the Richmond Metro population is 1/4 of the DC Metro population. In addition, they only have just the James River, which is much smaller than our Potomac. In addition, we have the Anacostia.

To make DC work like Richmond, we would need 4 times as many highways as Richmond, and a smaller Potomac, and no Anacostia River. Oh, and a higher unemployment rate, so less people going to work, and a much more blue-coller working class workforce, working night shifts and such, and not nearly as many blue collar 9-5 workers.

and the the commenter who said there is no freeway downtown... Have ya ever been there? Seriously???

by Kyle W on Apr 16, 2012 12:46 pm • linkreport

@Ceefer66

Assuming you mean 295 as smartly planning for their growth, once again, they have 1/4 as many people as our region. For DCs version of 295 to be similar, 495 would have to be 12 lanes on each side, or a total of 24 lanes. I will let you draw your own conclusions on a 24 lane beltway.

by Kyle W on Apr 16, 2012 12:49 pm • linkreport

Also 295 runs around the east side of Richmond which isn't as developed. Which necesitated the building of 288 which has driven a lot of development as its gone up and in a decade or so we'll be seeing real traffic jams on 288.

by Canaan on Apr 16, 2012 1:21 pm • linkreport

Yes well then someone call Google cause they must just be faking all these photos.

This is a highway evidently running through the heart of Richmond. Look how vibrant of a downtown it is to the right and left

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.535866,-77.419796&spn=0.054381,0.098448&t=h&z=14&layer=c&cbll=37.539231,-77.427172&panoid=cZIcolEGdCuR_vv7SirZqQ&cbp=12,39.33,,0,5.35

Here is Broad st what I would consider downtown region, no where near the freeway. Look around this one wow!! buildings!

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.542263,-77.436147&spn=0.011876,0.049224&t=h&z=15&layer=c&cbll=37.542065,-77.436144&panoid=5BxzJdZ-k6J7ELV9J8MbvA&cbp=11,326.17,,0,-4.35

Keep lying to yourself, but those freeways you mention go on the outskirts of the town like a typical beltway. Its a small beltway, but regardless it is no central arterial freeway

How about I-195 shown below that you mentioned. WOW VIBRANT DOWN TOWN RIGHT NEXT TO THIS CENTRAL ROAD!
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.542808,-77.455137&spn=0.005938,0.024612&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=37.542815,-77.455143&panoid=Z7FE40__k4MjQiaA0XpR_w&cbp=11,290.41,,0,-5.85

Another one of the non-toll 195
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.564974,-77.483654&spn=0.005936,0.024612&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=37.564978,-77.483657&panoid=9vYKjXeoysj_TFsv2lSQ8g&cbp=11,214.47,,0,-7.71

Actual down town now near Lombardi Park
http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.551893,-77.458227&spn=0.005937,0.024612&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=37.551886,-77.458234&panoid=QLhy5_p89I7whVTBKrBxfg&cbp=11,48.32,,0,-6

Do I need to continue? The fact is you guys who go to Richmond still go to the outer parts, the suburbs, which isnt considered part of the incorporated city, and really makes no money for the city. We are concerned with actual urban regions like downtown and vdots imposing its land use goals on us.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 2:02 pm • linkreport

Oh and one more of actual downtown, no where near a freeway

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.541549,-77.438679&spn=0.011876,0.049224&t=h&layer=c&cbll=37.541552,-77.438681&panoid=KtZQegTCfuJQDPpDBOhwwg&cbp=11,218.04,,0,1.07&z=15

Wow! 1-way streets I remember those! But VDOT says those are too confusing for drivers so they gave us this

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=38.786104,-77.177496&spn=0.01211,0.049224&t=h&z=15&layer=c&cbll=38.786088,-77.17749&panoid=DCsCo86hlJqF-6r43pX8Zg&cbp=11,11.13,,0,-2

What you can't figure out where to go?

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 2:06 pm • linkreport

I think you're missing the point so much that you've actually forgotten your point, Tysons Engineer.

by selxic on Apr 16, 2012 2:08 pm • linkreport

@ Tysons Engineer:Do I need to continue?

No, I give up.

by Jasper on Apr 16, 2012 2:08 pm • linkreport

I haven't forgotten any point. I don't care about fringe highways/freeways, though I do think that Arlington has no reason to allow for expansion that detrimentally harms its residence and land values.

My point is more towards what VDOT is already doing to Tysons Corner. They have said they will not allow any land uses in the density range already approved by FFX county. Instead they want to continue to widen Route 123 and Route 7 as well as creating this boondoggle known as 495 HOT lanes, whose toll price will be double what 267 is.

495 cuts right through the heart of Tysons and the beast still isn't satisfied. They wont be until the new urban core of Tysons and FFX looks more like Atlanta than it does Arlington, all the while they refuse to believe that density in correct land use designations CAN reduce traffic.

People who are pissed about big land owners getting all the benefit in Tysons are right, but its not plural, its just one land owner who benefits, and its the number 1 owner in Town, AKA VDOT.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 2:15 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer

I literally cannot believe you are trying to make the argument that Richmond does not have freeways running through the middle of its downtown, by showing pictures of its FREEWAY RUNNING THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN!

by Kyle W on Apr 16, 2012 2:30 pm • linkreport

Are you joking?

Could you not tell when I was being sarcastic? Those freeways are out in the belt region. In fact parts of it are called the Beltroad. That is my point. The ones with no buildings around it can hardly be called "downtown". Downtown isnt a geographic question. otherwise I have some great properties right south of SESW Freeway for you right in DC? Look at it! Just 4 blocks from downtown, its like you are right in the middle of an urban utopia.

Real cities are what happens away from Freeways, not against them.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 2:37 pm • linkreport

Also, if you looked at that first picture, and thought about what is being shown there you would clearly see that the beltroad actually creates a huge barrier to the limits of where developers are willing to invest money in new projects and bring tax revenue into the city. To the left you see the edges of the city (FAR AWAY FROM THE FREEWAY) and to the right you see basically nothing, the burbs, the lands where if you dont have a car you are the person who is begging everyone for a ride to work.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 2:39 pm • linkreport

Betrand_C, am I understanding you correctly? You seem to be saying that big government is usually wrong, except when the big government is controlled by "Conservatives" and the locality is "Liberal," in which case it would just be forcing the locality to do what they should want to do anyway. This is one of the most convoluted understanding of democracy I've ever heard.

Has it occurred to you that political power in Richmond could change hands. If Virginia elects a Democrat for governor and a majority democratic legislature, would your position on Agenda 639 change? Would the same law now become an insidious and unconstitutional imposition of power from "liberals?"

by Daniel on Apr 16, 2012 2:56 pm • linkreport

@ Kyle W

I think Tysons Engineers argument is far more nuanced than “does Richmond’s political boundaries contain freeways?” His argument is that Interstate 95, Interstate 195, and the Downtown Expressway essentially form a boundary around the core of Richmond. The development outside of the core is decidedly more suburban in nature. While development in areas not bound by these freeways (Windsor Farms, Westhampton, Fairmont, etc.) may be located within the political boundary of Richmond, that development has a suburban form in comparison to the core. It is based on this, that Tysons Engineer (presumably) comes to the conclusion that there are no freeways through “Richmond”.

Bringing this discussion back to greater Washington, it is extremely difficult to create an urban, walkable community out of a landscape that is bisected by numerous 6+ lane arterial roads. If we go back to our Richmond example, the largest road in terms of lanes through the Richmond core is W. Broad Street. While W. Broad does divide the community, it’s effect is nowhere near as pronounced as the effect of 7, 123, and the Capital Beltway have on Tysons. This is the foremost difficulty in developing Tysons into an urban center with a sense of place where people live, work, and play. The development of Tysons into this urban center is essentially to reap the full benefits of the silver line investment.

by Jim O on Apr 16, 2012 3:11 pm • linkreport

@ Daniel:If Virginia elects a Democrat for governor and a majority democratic legislature, would your position on Agenda 639 change?

Off course not. Republicans may be crazy idiots, but Democrats are spineless weasels giving on to every minute threat out of fear of being called weak or soft, whatever it may mean. It was Democratic Governor Kaine (now DNC chief) that came up with and allowed the HOT-lanes.

by Jasper on Apr 16, 2012 3:13 pm • linkreport

If this forces Arlington to act in the best interest of the region...then so be it. These bills can be litigated through the Commonwealth's Supreme Court. If it is in line with Virginia's storied Constitution it is perfectly legal. It is hard to understand this "chicken little" approach to blogging when this same website and author has written that legislatures and regional authorities should have the power to over ride voters. So, why is this any different?

by Pelham1861 on Apr 16, 2012 3:47 pm • linkreport

Pelham1861: Where have I written that?

by David Alpert on Apr 16, 2012 3:48 pm • linkreport

The point I think is, that it is better instead of having someone 200 miles away who never even understands the constraints and issues of Northern Virginia, to create a regional transportation authority with broad authority beyond just roads and recoup the full $1 of sales tax/gas tax that goes to pay for VDOT coffers right now.

That way no matter the politics at the state level (which all these moves are all about joining Romney 2012 for our good ole governor McDonnell) that the residents of Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington (or whoever in the future might want to join the regional board, though I doubt Fauquier, PWC, and Stafford are ready to give up the gas guzzlers) should have the sovereign rights to determine what happens in their own counties.

This isnt about NIMBY, we arent talking necessarily 1 particular neighborhood blocking a FFX County Parkway project, this is about Fairfax County as a whole being able to tell the state, road expansion is nice, but we would rather build . . .

That roads arent always the best solution in dense one directional corridors, that sometimes proper land use and integrated systems are much more efficient that continuing a trend that is already collapsing on itself to build further and further and cheaper and cheaper.

And at the end of the day it is about discussion with neighbors who want to discuss. So far PWC, Stafford and Fauquier have had nothing to do with the rest of Nova, they have continued to rely on their political sway through McDonnell and Connaughton to strong arm their way into dictating to Arlington and Fairfax that they need to give up more land, hurt their businesses, all in the name of improving the residents lives in those outer counties.

All the while FFX gets blamed for using funds from the state to FIX THE PROBLEMS FOR THESE OUTER COUNTIES. If the state wants to segregate the income and business creating regions then it should. And the rest of the counties who don't join the multi-county discussion should get used to paying tolls at the border regions and losing out on us subsidizing their road construction because that is where this discussion will end. It wont be a civil war style secession, but it might as well be when the funds stop flowing to Richmond.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 3:48 pm • linkreport

What Richmond did is to create 'outer beltways' of sorts like most forward thinking cities. Washington's mess of traffic is historically the fault of Annapolis not Richmond. This insane view that all north-south traffic from the northeast corridor should funnel through Washington instead of on outer beltways has been a disaster for our region. Virginia has been willing and Maryland never has. Get an outer beltway moving and most of the issues we face here will smartly disappear. They have everywhere else enlightened leadership takes hold. The legislatures and Governors in Annapolis have not been enlightened...but those in Richmond have.

by Pelham1861 on Apr 16, 2012 4:01 pm • linkreport

Can anyone tell me if this affects independent cities like Alexandria?

Thanks!

by Simon on Apr 16, 2012 4:02 pm • linkreport

Simon: The current law does. There is still pressure to pass further bills amending or limiting it, so it could change, but the bill that McDonnell signed applies to all jurisdictions in Virginia.

by David Alpert on Apr 16, 2012 4:05 pm • linkreport

@ Tysons Engineer

If Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington were given back the money we donate to the state we would be returned back with 5 times our current allotment for Transportation."

Not true according to Senator Janet Howell, who has been on the Senate Finance Committee for years. Senator Howell has stated on numerous occasions NoVA has done very well with state transportation dollars, most especially with the Springfield Interchange and the Wilson Bridge. We do get horribly screwed by the state aid to K-12 education because the formula does not properly recognize the cost of living in NoVA and does not require a minimum local taxing effort.
IMO, Fairfax County officials are also quite interested in getting more money for roads, as well as transit. People such as Jeff McKay and Gerry Hyland are strongly seeking road improvement money for their districts, as are Linda Smyth and John Foust for Tysons Corner.

by tmtfairfax on Apr 16, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

Ah yes Wilson Bridge project which has destroyed the face of Huntington and split Alexandria in two more so than any other road project in this area. And oh yes the mixing bowl the biggest mistake Springfield ever made. Areas which used to do well like Backlick, Commerce Drive (most people in 10 years will wonder why it was ever called commerce drive, it should be called Slum Drive), and of course Springfield Mall.

Who did it help? People in Fredericksburg who complained to VDOT that this was absolutely necessary to get from Quantico to the Pentagon. Now for the Wilson Bridge, I will admit Fairfax was stupid for supporting this project, but that was almost a decade ago when that occurred I would like to think they have learned something since then.

The more important thing isn't how much is coming to Fairfax etc, but what it is going towards. When the question is stated do you want some of this money or none of it, almost everyone would say, FINE I'll take it. Instead it should be this is the money that is allocated back for you, what are your priorities and HOW do you want to spend it.

Also the numbers that the state keeps throwing back about how NOVA gets back plenty from the state is skewed because they include Gainsville (GOP country) and Fredericksburg (GOP country) in the mix. And again the projects that they continue to taut as helping NOVA really help exurbs. Just because it runs through Fairfax doesnt mean its something Fairfax cares to widen or has as a pet project just like even though 66 runs through Arlington they don't want it widened because it disproportionately harms Arlington without any benefits for its residents.

There is a difference between geographic location and design user base.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 4:19 pm • linkreport

@Pelham1861

"Get an outer beltway moving and most of the issues we face here will smartly disappear."

No, no they will not.

by Kyle W on Apr 16, 2012 4:23 pm • linkreport

I thought Md (and most folks on GGW) supported an EASTERN bypass, which would shift long haul traffic off the beltway, without encouraging sprawl on the NW side of the metro area. Its the WESTERN bypass that most of see as more enabling sprawl.

Not that I think that solves all beltway problems, let alone all other transport problems.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 16, 2012 4:30 pm • linkreport

Betrand_C, am I understanding you correctly? You seem to be saying that big government is usually wrong, except when the big government is controlled by "Conservatives" and the locality is "Liberal," in which case it would just be forcing the locality to do what they should want to do anyway. This is one of the most convoluted understanding of democracy I've ever heard.

You're being pretty generous characterizing Betrand_C's comments as "understanding" anything at all, convoluted or otherwise. They evince a fundamental misunderstanding of dozens of basic governmental concepts.

Betrand_C's comments were instructive, though - they confirm that the issue is not, in fact, the size of government, but whether the Tea Party agrees with what the government is doing. It's not a considered opinion on the proper size and role of government in the modern United States, but a crass political calculation - "take money from them, and give it to people like me." (Wait, isn't that what they accuse liberals of?) We knew that already, of course, but it's nice to hear from the horses's [deleted for violating the comment policy] . . . er, mouth.

by dcd on Apr 16, 2012 4:34 pm • linkreport

If you are willing for it to be a toll road, then good luck with that. But just like the ICC it will only fix things momentarily before becoming a problem. 35 to 1 is the inefficiency curve you are fighting between bridge crossings and a single metro crossing, in that 35 times more people can cross in any given time interval between the two systems. I think you highly over estimate how many people from Nova work in Rockville because if they were working in Bethesda then it wouldnt matter if they crossed at 495 where it is. To fix this "massive issue" would relieve all of the 30,000 people that do this commute. We are talking about 250,000 people that travel west to east a far greater problem that needs better solutions than roads and VDOT are willing to provide.

But by all means, if you can fund it through a private partnership (good luck finding a company that will pay for a 2 billion dollar river crossing for 30,000 users a day). That return value takes over a century to pay off by the way given the same price as the Greenway (go do the numbers)... hence the reason why it will never happen through private partnership and hence why it is a dumb idea for a public money waste.

If you hate your commute move or find another job otherwise stop bringing up fiscally insolvent zombie projects.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 4:36 pm • linkreport

@ Tysons Engineer

You make some interesting points about who benefits from decisions by Fairfax County officials. I suggest that what explains much of the decision-making by elected officials is the desire to bring as much commercial real estate tax revenue to the County as possible. Quite often that means supporting any project that moves people in and out. That means roads and transit to bring those people who live well south and west of the Metro area, as well as people living in Maryland, in and out of Fairfax County. Their employers pay real estate taxes and it is generally believed commercial real estate is profitable to Fairfax County. Personally, I say "so what" since our residential real estate taxes continue to escalate despite all of the commercial development.
Fairfax Officials also like the idea that these exurb commuters' children go to school outside Fairfax County.
I also agree that many people think as you do, "Please explain how this policy helps Fairfax County residents?" I think many county residents would just as well see more commercial development occur outside Fairfax County so that people live and work there. But they don't seem to have the BoS's ears.

by tmtfairfax on Apr 16, 2012 4:48 pm • linkreport

TMT - i have yet to hear of anyone in ffx complaining when pol touts (accurately or not) their success in landing more jobs in FFX.

I suspect that most folks see the financial dangers in a worsened jobs employment balance, which means both lower commercial RE taxes, and lower residential property values. (*dog whistles @Oboe*)

My guess is that TE is complaining about folks passing through Fairfax to employment in DC and Arlington, not to folks commuting in to FFX to work.

As for the mixing bowl, I drove through it enough to be aware of the safety hazard it used to be, and the Wilson bridge needed to be replaced. I am NOT an engineer and cannot address if it would have been possible to do those projects for less by adding less capacity.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 16, 2012 5:20 pm • linkreport

dcd, yeah, I have to agree with you. I wasn't sure at first, but it looks like the Tea Party does simply represents raw political self-interest dressed up in eternal-sounding principles. I do think it's possible that some of the rank-and-file really believe in the Constitution, freedom, small government, etc. Who knows? Maybe posts like this one will help a few light bulbs go off.

by Daniel on Apr 16, 2012 5:23 pm • linkreport

TMT

what years are you contrasting, and what were the rates in those years?

by OboesDogWhistle on Apr 16, 2012 5:25 pm • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer,

At the risk of violating the comments policy, I will respond thusly:

Why can't you just admit you've been proven wrong and move on?

The issue - YOUR isuue - was whether there were freeways through Richmond. I - and several others - have shown you that there are.

There is NOTHING you can post to prove otherwise.

I will not respond to the things you've said in an obvious effort to make this personal.

I have actually driven all over metro Richmond and I've walked it's partially "vibrant" downtown. As someone who actually knows the place, I suggest you try the Fan or West Cary Street if "vibrancy" in inner Richmond is what you seek.

You can get there several ways: The Blvd. exit off I-95, or take Broad Street, or use the Downtown Expressway.

I'm done with this. I've got nothing else to prove. If you need the last word, have at it.

by ceefer66 on Apr 16, 2012 6:18 pm • linkreport

"Ah yes Wilson Bridge project which has destroyed the face of Huntington"

Huh? I live in Huntington and we are far from having our face destroyed. I suggest you go speak to the folks over at Hunting Creek Towers instead.

@pelham: an outer beltway isn't the answer. It would take, *AT BEST*, about 30,000 vehicles off the road inside the Beltway, and that's assuming you build it as an Eastern Bypass *AND* could convince all of the through traffic on I-95 to use it. We have enough latent demand within the region to where whatever road space you open up would quickly get used up again. And given the way most through traffic travels, it wouldn't make a dent to the western part of the Beltway.

by Froggie on Apr 16, 2012 6:33 pm • linkreport

@Ceefer

Sorry you havent proven anything except you are not seeing MY point. That a circulating belt system is not the same as taking Route 123 and Route 7 and widening them which run literally through the heart of the Tysons Corner quadrants. You are removing the marketability of those entire corridors if you do this. No retail, residential, or restaurant owner would be in their right mind to live next to a highway. In Richmond all of these highways are belted systems well outside of the real downtown. Outside of this region is where the tract after tract of residential development that is the sprawling richmond suburbs exist. Are there pockets that span across it? Yes, but on the outside of the loop are far less dense and less invested regions. I think if you looked into the tax per property of Richmond the money really comes from that inner uptown/downtown region rather than the suburbs that surround it. Thats the power of dense commercial business districts, each building can account for 300 to 500 times what a comparable tract of land outside of it makes for the jurisdiction. VDOTs plans endanger Alexandria, Arlington, and Tyson's abilities to create these thriving regions, instead they will be demo'd to create an even bigger road corridor.

You clearly have not driven through 123, or seen the mess than the HOT lanes have made of Tysons from aerial images. Look at the images and look at Atlantas down town, they look exactly the same. Just the HOT lanes interchange region is 3 times bigger than all of Georgelas' property, a project which when built out will bring somewhere between 50 and 60 million dollars per YEAR in tax revenue. With that kind of tax revenue we could retake control of our own decisions, and yet VDOT wants to say that this kind of density will make our problems worse under the Clause of Puff Daddy vs The Board of Supervisors 1999, of course the famous Mo' Money Mo' Problems defense.

Just butt out of Northern Virginia, that's it. If you want to keep restricting funding to us, go for it, I think its political suicide, but keep doing that. But for god's sake stop dictating your policies on a region that doesnt hold the same values for road only solutions (or atleast is coming around to a different point of view).

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 6:47 pm • linkreport

Fairfax County residential tax bills. From 2000 until Sharon Bulova took over as Chairman of the BoS, the average residential real estate tax bill (rate times average assessment) increased by 101%. The calculation was made in 2010 by comparing the advertised 2011 budget to the adopted 2000 budget. Inflation was c. 30% during the same time period. People are concerned about their tax bill, more than the tax rate or assessment per se. Moreover, the Supervisors generally talk about the amount residents must pay for real estate taxes.
After Bulova took over spending slowed, pushing the average residential tax bill increase down to 99%, with a 36% inflation rate. Bulova's consistent fiscal conservativeness was, IMO, a key factor in her reelection.
I am not suggesting County spending is fully under control, but Chairman Bulova has done a much better job in this area than either Kate Hanley or Gerry Connolly.

by tmtfairfax on Apr 16, 2012 6:53 pm • linkreport

I do agree with that TMTFairfax, as much as Chairman Bulova gets bashed by people not in Fairfax, she is actually doing a great job of balancing costs, risks, and benefits. I just wish she would stand up to Virginia state house dictation, but I understand that it would be a last straw type event that would cause that kind of destructive behavior (its a good thing I'm not in charge cause I woulda blown my top at the state legislature and VDOT months ago... in fact I did :P

Wow... me and TMTFairfax agreeing on something...politics make strange bedfellows haha

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 16, 2012 7:50 pm • linkreport

My point is that the rate has been stable with short term ups and downs for years, AFAIK. Assessments increased much faster than inflation due to the RE bubble. Since then assessments have declined (do you chalk that up as tax cuts?) Im not concerned with the relative merits of Connolly vs Bulova vs Hanley, but the larger question you raise, of whether pursuing COmm RE is wise.

by OboesDogWhistle on Apr 16, 2012 8:11 pm • linkreport

Where are you getting any of your information, Tysons Engineer? Have you been to the areas you're commenting on? The widening and re-alignment projects that were part of the larger Wilson Bridge Project have not destroyed Huntington or split Alexandria. Likewise, the Springfield Interchange project had nothing to do with the downturn of Springfield Mall. Also, I have seen no evidence of businesses on Backlick or Commerce struggling and calling anything on Commerce (including apartments behind Springfield Plaza) slums is insulting.

by selxic on Apr 16, 2012 8:39 pm • linkreport

Many comments mention retrocession.

Why doesn't Arlington make a serious push for retrocession from Old Virginny? Better yet they should rejoin the District and create a new state. DC gets their voting rights, Arlington gets freedom from the Confederacy and its wingnuts who are determined to push their funding bills and back-to-the-1800's social agenda. Or as a third option, both DC and Arlington can become part of Maryland (but the latter only after renaming the "Lee" and "Jefferson Davis" highways).

by King Terrapin on Apr 16, 2012 11:28 pm • linkreport

The problem with all the cession/retrocession comments in a comment section where people take themselves so seriously is I don't know if they're joking, King Terrapin.

by selxic on Apr 17, 2012 7:18 am • linkreport

"Where are you getting any of your information, Tysons Engineer? Have you been to the areas you're commenting on? The widening and re-alignment projects that were part of the larger Wilson Bridge Project have not destroyed Huntington or split Alexandria. Likewise, the Springfield Interchange project had nothing to do with the downturn of Springfield Mall. Also, I have seen no evidence of businesses on Backlick or Commerce struggling and calling anything on Commerce (including apartments behind Springfield Plaza) slums is insulting."

If you are offended I'm sorry, but please note I said in 10 years they would see it this way and I stand by this based on where the market is going in that region. I get my information after living in Springfield for 3 decades. I watched areas that actually had decent retail and neighborhoods get undercut by VDOTs plans to experiment with traffic flow, aka the mixing bowl. I get my information from the fact that the land value for the tracts has gone down in both last sales and assessed values since 2003, even through an era in which land values were booming.

Have all areas seen this? No, parts of Commerce drive away from the mixing bowl, and old keene mill remain in ok shape, but as a person who has spent his career in land development and his life in Fairfax I know when I see a trend and a de-vestment cycle. And right now, no one in their right mind, except for Vornado who had to act or they would have lossed everything in springfield mall, is inputting money around the Backlick/Commerce corridor.

Why is retail/commerce important if houses are still nice and neighborhoods are still holding value? Because it is an indicator sector, it tells you what the outside world views the marketability of a region. It is a far more realistic view of a neighborhood than what all the people who are already living there would say.

I would speak to Springfield Mall but that is a whole other topic. But let me just say when was the last time you were driving along a highway, saw a billboard, and said I need to go shopping. Thats not how organic retail works, only very few places can operate like this and we are seeing the return of the neighborhood in retail that is really what is happening to malls and that is why when you disect a region by a highway, cutting it from previously accessible areas it begins to collapse out of lack of interest.

I would thoroughly enjoy discussing with you further, but I assure you I am not just on a vendetta against the areas I mentioned. I love this area, I could have moved after the bubble burst since land development shrunk to non-existent for 2 years, but instead I stuck around to do whatever I could to return the idea of neighborhoods to a region that has lost sight on what that actually means.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 17, 2012 8:17 am • linkreport

For those of you continue to think Virginia is some sort of backwater..let it be noted it has been, for the past four decades...one of the nation's economic engines, free of government scandal and has always had a sound economic base, extensive community college programs, superior roads statewide and a general model of good and open government. That cannot be said of Maryland.

Northern Virginia's road woes are not Richmond's fault nor is the Silver Line being built in accordance with Virginia labor laws.

Arlington contains, by the way, the home of Robert E. Lee, but today is governed by fiat and deception. A dead county in the 1970's was revived by METRO & I-66 in the 1980's and beyond. It's amusing that some who comment here laud cooperative government but only when it agrees with their views. The folks in Richmond do, after-all, represent the voters throughout the state. Arlington does not exist by itself and socialism is a defeated political philosophy...they just don't know it yet.

by Pelham1861 on Apr 17, 2012 8:18 am • linkreport

By the way, what follows is the actual wording of the Bill passed by Virginia's legislature. it is not, despite GGW's chicken little hand-wringing either 'unprecedented nor frightening':

Summary
Transportation construction, operation and maintenance, and funding. Provides for the construction, maintenance, and funding of transportation by (i) increasing transportation's share of year-end surpluses to 67 percent, and (ii) authorizing the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) to name highways, bridges, interchanges, and other transportation facilities for private entities if an annual naming rights fee is paid, with the revenue dedicated to highway maintenance and operation. The bill also charges the CTB with greater responsibilities involving integration of land use and transportation planning and authorizes the CTB to withhold federal and state funds for certain local or regional capital improvement projects if those projects are inconsistent with the Statewide Transportation Plan or the Six-Year Improvement Program. Provision is made for use of "revenue-sharing" funds for secondary highway system maintenance projects carried out by local governments. The bill provides for special allocations by the CTB for bridge reconstruction, high priority highway projects, and reconstruction of highways with particularly deteriorated pavements. Finally, the bill establishes an annual $50 license tax for electric motor vehicles registered in the Commonwealth.

by Pelham1861 on Apr 17, 2012 8:25 am • linkreport

Pelham1861

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] To define Arlington as socialist is just ignorant just because it doesnt follow a red tie version of city development and to say that 66 HELPED Arlington is purely revisionist. Flat out, please tell me how 66 HELPED Arlington. You are gonna say that companies were able to get a cheaper labor force because workers could live further away and those companies began coming to Arlington for that.

That is specious, no company appears to have strategically located adjacent to 66 (something that if it were viewed as an asset you would have seen development around it as of course people want to taut being the closest to such a great economic asset).

Also [deleted] no where does it indicate a disproportionate amount of funds from one county will be robbed and sent to other parts of the state and while the State reserves the right to build through its existing Right of Way it does not RESERVE the right to build endlessly through private regions. There needs to be proof that this meets the requirements for eminent domain when other options are available.

To say that I-66 MUST be widened or that a new toll road for I-95 MUST be provided for public good and safety is a stretch and I doubt it would ever be successful. I am a loyal virginian all my life, but that has never been a policy of the commonwealth

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 17, 2012 8:40 am • linkreport

Virginia is a strict Dillon Rule state and local authority comes only from the General Assembly. I think local politicians actually like this arrangement as it gives them an excuse. How many people have never heard Gerry Connolly say, "Gee, I like to deny this rezoning request because it would overwhelm [fill in the blank], but we are a Dillon Rule state"? Or "We cannot obtain the same cash proffers for schools or for transportation because the General Assembly won't let us"?
When Virginia rewrote its constitution in the late 1960s, there was a proposal to grant home rule powers to, at least, most cities and larger counties. The latter told the convention they preferred the Dillon Rule. It's a fantastic excuse to ignore constituents.

by tmtfairfax on Apr 17, 2012 8:49 am • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer,

I didn't bother to completely read your last rant, but the following glared out at me:

"Just butt out of Northern Virginia, that's it."

I don't know why you insist on making this personal, but FYI I lived in Reston for 13 years and I kept my small townhouse there as a rental property and of course pay Fairfax County property taxes - in addition to the tolls and gas taxes I pay when I go to my office at Reston Town Center.

Tell you what: I'll "butt out of NOVA" if you help me with the tax bill.

Yeah. That's what I thought.

by ceefer66 on Apr 17, 2012 9:05 am • linkreport

When did I direct that at you? Yikes, it was at VDOT. But I'm so sorry you have an investment property which is likely having a very easy time being rented out sounds like its gonna be tough times for Ceefer66. If you need any help call me I am here for you buddy, we are gonna get through this.

DARN YOU GUYS!!! Cant you see you are hurting those who are most vulnerable. For just 10 cents a day we can help Ceefer66 pay these unjust taxes. Please won't you help?

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 17, 2012 9:14 am • linkreport

OK, everyone, the comments here have been on the edge of being too personal for a little while and now they're going overboard on all sides. Let's tone it back down. Please stop with all comments about "what are you talking about," "you don't know what you are saying," or anything criticizing others personally. Starting now I will be moderating more heavily on this thread.

by David Alpert on Apr 17, 2012 9:17 am • linkreport

@Pelham1861,

Please do not resort to dragging insulting references to Maryland into this discussion. As a 10-year resident, I'll be the first to admit that Suburban Maryland has its problems, howver, inabilty to adresss its transportation issues due to kowtowing to road opponents and anti-tax zealots "downstate' unlike Virginia, isn't one of them.

While Virginia has dithered with widening I-66 and accomplished no road improvements but privately-owned toll roads, HOV for a few, and the Silver Line boondoggle, Maryland overcame minority opposition and built the state- of-the-art ICC highway, made statewide road capacity improvements and is moving forward with the Purple Line.

Sure, we're still struggling with traffic, thanks in part to DC's unilateral decision decades ago that ALL highway traffic belongs in the suburbs and the obstructionism of our own "backwater folks" towards an outer bypass. If the success with overcoming ICC opponents is an indicator, that will one day be overcome as well.

BTW, I admire your passion and agree with just about everything you've posted, especially about Arlington's persistent obstructionist tactics regarding I-66.

by ceefer66 on Apr 17, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

So toll roads are a bad thing, but on the other hand Maryland has championed better road design... through the construction of a toll road. Interesting concept.

Yep no problems with the state of the art ICC

"Sir what are those cracks in the structural columns?"

Oh those? Don't worry about those, come see our unique low sound pavement which costs 4 times as much as it should.

"What about people who live inside of the ICC who are more important to overall economic health of the state?"

Oh they love it too! I hear they go driving on it on the weekends and just laugh and laugh about how amazing the modern automobile is.

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 17, 2012 9:37 am • linkreport

Even beyond shifting power from localities to the state, there are reasons for conservatives to oppose these bills. The legislation also gives the state greater permission to shift funds from general revenue into transportation infrastructure, which traditionally was supposed to be largely covered by the gas tax. In this respect, the bill represents a further erosion of the User Pays, User Benefits principle, which conservatives supposed support. At least when it comes to keeping the gas tax from funding transit, they say they do.

Then there is private property, which is another principle the Tea Party has endorsed in certain circumstances. As a resident of Charlottesville, I've had a front row seat to the Western Bypass fiasco of the last several years. VDOT had been pushing the road and localities had been resisting for many years, until the state finally rammed it through by holding all of the region's transportation funds hostage until they gave in.

Building this road requires the greatest use of eminent domain in the history of Albemarle County, yet the Tea Party is eerily silent. When they like the particular outcome, the Tea Party seems to support both state power over localities as well as state power over private citizens. When they don't like the outcome, they pull the Paul Revere hat out of the closet and throw a fit. This is why they cannot be taken seriously.

by Daniel on Apr 17, 2012 9:48 am • linkreport

David,

Thanks for stepping in. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by ceefer66 on Apr 17, 2012 10:22 am • linkreport

Is gerry connolly the only one who has said that (also since he hasn't been in local govt for over 4 years, I doubt he's said it lately).

It would be good if we could discuss these matters without obsessing over a dislike for one politician who hasn't even held local office for over 4 years.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 17, 2012 10:45 am • linkreport

"Northern Virginia's road woes are not Richmond's fault nor is the Silver Line being built in accordance with Virginia labor laws."

There is nothing in Virginia labor laws that prevents someone from favoring a union or agency shop. If there were I would expect the nonunion contractors to go to court.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 17, 2012 10:48 am • linkreport

"Arlington contains, by the way, the home of Robert E. Lee, but today is governed by progressive and far sighted leaders. A dead county in the 1970's was revived by METRO & and by planning principles that leveraged metro in the 1980's and beyond. It's amusing that some who comment here laud limited government but only when it agrees with their views. The folks in Richmond do, after-all, represent the few voters who voted in an off year election whent he national economy was a dominant issue. Arlington does not exist by itself, but in synergy with the entire region, including DC and Maryland, and tea partiesm is not a coherent political philosophy... however the third way approach of reaching public ends through a mix of public and market means, is the wave of the future."

Fixed.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 17, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

Haha, AWalkerInTheCity you and I have a shared sense of humor I think. Now lets go play in the socialist den of inequity that is Arlington. Blast its unjust economics which are a majority of the tax revenue from this region which leads the state for funding.

Did you bring the constitution so we could burn it in effigy?

by Tysons Engineer on Apr 17, 2012 10:56 am • linkreport

Pelham1861:

"For those of you continue to think Virginia is some sort of backwater..let it be noted it has been, for the past four decades...one of the nation's economic engines, free of government scandal and has always had a sound economic base, extensive community college programs, superior roads statewide and a general model of good and open government. That cannot be said of Maryland."

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] No all of Virginia isn't backwater, just the parts outside of Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax. Northern Virginia is an economic engine, not the rest of the state. What economy is there in Hampton Roads besides the beach and Navy? Richmond is just depressing to drive through. I'll give you "free of government scandal" and the "sound economic base" (in Northern VA) thanks to the feds.

Here is where my jaw drops: "extensive community college programs, superior roads statewide...That cannot be said of Maryland." First off, Virginian public services are significantly substandard in comparison to Maryland, as many residents who have lived North and South of the Potomac can attest. MD probably spends far more on 2-year colleges (on a per student basis) than most other states, much less Virginia. Yeah, NVCC is good, but what about the other counties? Maryland has solid, modern CC's in practically every county from Southern MD to Western MD to the Shore. The MoCo library system also trumps Fairfax's. Just look at the multiple new multi-million library replacements/renovations in Silver Spring (8-storeys, $50m), Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Rockville.

As for "superior roads state wide," [deleted] last weekend I drove down I-95/I-85 to NC and the last thought in my mind was "superior" roads; quite the opposite in fact. When, the interstates narrow to 4 total lanes with the forest in the median, as they typically do in the South, the quality of the pavement is inconsistent and changes like every 5 miles. This compared to MD roads which are well known to be among the best in the nation (not counting the local Baltimore roads). In fact, the roads are so smooth I have a problem with them repaving them as often as they do. I-270, I-95, the MD Beltway/495, the ICC (which is so unnaturally smooth you're totally disconnected from the road), all have surfaces like glass.

Not to mention MD interstates don't have the capacity issues that NoVa's have. The traffic on I-95 after the poorly designed HOV lanes end all the way south to I-295 is absolutely abysmal 6 days a week (direction dependent). I-66 in Arlington is no different. I've rarely traveled on I-395, but I would expect the same.

"a general model of good and open government." I'm not sure I would call a government [deleted] who spent their legislative session pushing their backwards social agenda of putting guns in schools and banning abortion all the while cutting Metro Silver Line funding and education in NoVa, a "good" government, but I suppose that's a matter of personal political preferences...

by King Terrapin on Apr 17, 2012 11:23 am • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by ceefer66 on Apr 17, 2012 12:15 pm • linkreport

To King Terrapin:

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.] Good roads have been a Virginia hallmark since the 1970's and I'm not speaking of the Interstates...secondary roads.

Virginia's community college system is superior statewide and has been lavishly funded since the early 1970's. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.] The Old Dominion's community college system is extensive state-wide of which NVCC is but a small part.

The economic engine of Virginia is fueled by much of what has happened in Northern Virginia but not completely. Virginia was the first of the Southern states to achieve national parity on wages way back in 1977-78...long before Northern Virginia dominated the state.

The Richmond metropolitan area now has more retail per-capita than any city in the nation...and that has been true for 4 years...a clear sign of economic viability.

As for clean government...Virginia is always ranked high in the top 5 and Maryland near the bottom. [Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

Wonderfully, Virginia is a competitive 2-party state...Maryland is not. Virginia voters trust their state to ongoing divergent opinion. Maryland voters send the same stale individuals and philosophy to Annapolis decade-after-decade. So in Maryland you get higher taxes, more government and less effective services. In Virginia you get lower taxes, awesome business climate, extensive bike trail systems and parks statewide and a tremendous secondary educational system.

[Deleted for violating the comment policy.]

At least through the early 2000's...Richmond also had the only bus transit system in the country that made money and did not operate solely through subsidy. Norfolk developed a light rail system and rebuilt a thriving downtown.

Maryland sure has virtues of its own...just fewer of them in terms of quality of life.

by Pelham1861 on Apr 18, 2012 8:29 am • linkreport

To TYSON's ENGINEER:

For anyone who has lived here for more than 40 years and has some perspective on change to the region...it is widely understood that I-66 completely revitalized old Arlington because it provided transportation options to actually get you to and from areas such as Clarendon, Ballston, etc. There was a time taking surface streets like Glebe, Lee Highway, etc. took forever and got you no-where. I-66 provided business a link to Fairfax, Tyson's and even a fast-track to what is now Reagan National.

The entire building boom which began Arlington's revitalization in the mid 1980's came as a result of I-66. Many of us remember the moribund areas around each Metro stop back then..boarded up buildings, few eateries and nearly zero retail from Rosslyn to Ballston. Thank goodness that I-66 helped save Arlington and give it a chance to attract housing and business today because there is an Interstate transportation link that otherwise would have left clogged roads and precious little development.

by Pelham1861 on Apr 18, 2012 8:46 am • linkreport

@Pelham1861,
Northern Virginian here. I'll give a +1 to most of the things you say about NoVA not having a monopoly on nice stuff. Many parts of Virginia are lovely places to live, and I personally don't buy into this ongoing 'Richmond as proof of VDOT's evil schemes' debate.

Where we diverge (besides the derogatory characterization of "liberals") is in the statement, "Virginia voters trust their state to ongoing divergent opinion." That's the issue, right there. Most of the rest of Virginia doesn't seem to know or care the extent that many in NoVA find the Dillon rule stuff, VDOT's Baby Huey blundering, and the McDonnell/Cucinelli social agenda so odious and at times deliberately contrary to the will of our community.

NoVA and the Commonwealth have increasingly divergent values. But I, and I suspect many other, NoVA voters don't see anybody at the state level (outside of our own reps) eager to accomodate or even tolerate our views of how our community needs to grow.

So no, when I see the state government reject my county's application for renewal of a tourism tax, or empower a shady board with a veto vote on regional transportation priorities, or enact any number of other laws along a regional-line vote, I wouldn't entrust my state with anything. My state plainly doesn't trust us.

by darren on Apr 18, 2012 8:51 am • linkreport

At least through the early 2000's...Richmond also had the only bus transit system in the country that made money and did not operate solely through subsidy

Every once in a while people come in here and try to claim that this or that transit agency had/has 100% fare recovery and why can't everyone else do that? (Recently it was Arlington that someone claimed this.) In every instance it was untrue.

http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/profiles/2000/agency_profiles/3006.pdf
They did have a nice fare recovery (40%) but there's plenty of local funding there. You can change the 2000 to any year 1996-2010 to see other years.

by MLD on Apr 18, 2012 9:02 am • linkreport

ceefer wrote earlier: "While Virginia has dithered with widening I-66 and accomplished no road improvements but privately-owned toll roads"

So I suppose the Springfield interchange rebuild, the interchanges along 28, widening 66 in Manassas and widening 95 between Newington and Woodbridge don't count.

@Pelham: a stronger argument could be made that it was the Orange Line that saved Arlington instead of I-66, though to be fair, we didn't get one without the other.

by Froggie on Apr 18, 2012 9:03 am • linkreport

I'm not a transportation expert, but unlike many people that seem to be posting on this topic, I actually lived and worked in Richmond for 4 years and I now currently live in Arlington and have lived in NOVA for a total of 20 years (on and off).

When I lived in Richmond, I drove everywhere. I did not live in the city center, but I commuted in and out of that area every day for 4 years in my car. I never took a bus or any form of public transportation. Never had to, cause driving was easy, convenient, and fast.

In my 4 years living there, I never was late due to traffic, why? Not because there were not traffic jams on occasion in certain areas (there certainly were--accidents always happen), BUT because there were at least 4 ways to get everywhere. I noticed over time that those built in redundancies (or options if you will) in the design of the infrastructure, be they planned or by accident, seemed to make that when you did encounter a back-up, you could quickly divert and find a 2nd or 3rd way to get to where you were going. And this was before the days of GPS.

I agree with a lot that has been said on this topic back and forth by many folks on both sides.

But I think that NOVAs traffic problems are caused by NOVA and not by decisions in Richmond. The resistance to building more highways (redundant ones, yes) by those who oppose the use of the car versus public transport, combined with a woeful public transport system, have caused this problem in NOVA..not Richmond. That's my view.

I think some folks living in NOVA think that building more highways will cause more people to drive...but the reality is, those people are still driving--even when there are no new highways! People will suffer through an extra 1 hour of sitting in a car, as long as they can be in a/c and comfortable and in their own space. That's a behavioral problem and not a highway one.

To make matters worse, there is very little affordable (and safe) housing close to where a lot of people in DC work. And there is not a lot of work out in the burbs where many people live for less. So commuting is a way of life, when it doesn't have to be.

We can't blame that on Richmond.

by LuvDusty on Apr 18, 2012 3:19 pm • linkreport

@Pelham186,

"Good roads have been a Virginia hallmark since the 1970's and I'm not speaking of the Interstates...secondary roads."
----

That USED to be true. When I moved to Reston in 1988 I used to marvel at perfectly good (in my opinion, coming from NY and NJ) roads being torn up and re-paved. That was the case state-wide throughout the '90's and well into the 2000's.

Now, Virginia's roads are in terrible shape, thanks to that "competitive 2-pary government" that can't agree on how to fund transportation and a mindset that thinks "good government" should cost little or nothing, least of all in the form of taxes.

Last winter, I saw roads in Jamaica and Trinidad that are in better condition than I-95 in Virginia. And the Toll Road has devolved into a sick joke - higher tolls every year while the condition of the road gets worse by the month. Even Richmond's enviable (because it expands with the region's growth) great highway network is showing signs of wear.

Bad-mouth Maryland all you want. At least we're fixing our traffic (for the most part) and we've never tried to fool ourselves into thinking that government shouldn't cost us much.

by ceefer66 on Apr 18, 2012 4:30 pm • linkreport

@Froggie,

"So I suppose the Springfield interchange rebuild, the interchanges along 28, widening 66 in Manassas and widening 95 between Newington and Woodbridge don't count."
----

Not for the purpose of this argument. Those projects were funded and (at least in the case of the Springfield Interchange) started the better part of a decade ago.

As the song says, when it comes to new roads in NOVA, "what have you done for me lately?".

by ceefer66 on Apr 18, 2012 4:38 pm • linkreport

What major transit projects were funded in general? Silver Line, Arlington Streetcar (maybe, I don't know how much funding is committed), Bike Share, Whatever they're doing in Crystal City.

I can think of lane expansions on 66, the fair lakes interchange, Widening grade separating of many intersections on 28 and 7, HOT Lanes.

So we have 1 large scale transit project (yes here is one example where road users directly subsidize transit users, ignoring the fact MWAA only is paying for construction and WMATA is running it, its still only one project and the subsidy is limited in scope) and several smaller ones and that is about par with the scale of road projects.

by Canaan on Apr 18, 2012 4:47 pm • linkreport

@ceefer: not the case with the 95 widening. That has very much been within the past few years. Same with some of the interchanges along 28.

by Froggie on Apr 19, 2012 7:41 am • linkreport

CEEFER: Interstate repairs require an alarming set of rules and regulations imposed by the FEDS...while secondary roads do not. Agree with you on Dulles Toll Road...it was a foolish idea from the get go and should never have been built as a toll road.

I guess we will agree to disagree about government. The public is not clamoring for more government or more wasteful spending (Union contracts for Silver Line a perfect example). Some of us believe the states and nation would thrive if budgets were reduced to zero-based and the waste, fraud and duplication ended. Others feel otherwise and I respect that.

But I'd rather live in Virginia than Maryland which by all measures of every national study right and left...finds Virginia to be the more progressive and economically viable.
Having both parties be competitive is always better than continual one-party rule is my estimation.

by Pelham1861 on Apr 19, 2012 8:10 am • linkreport

@Pelham1861

"...finds Virginia to be the more progressive and economically viable"

HAHAHAHHAHA! Progressive??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

by Kyle W on Apr 19, 2012 12:07 pm • linkreport

Born and raised in Richmond, lived there till my early 20's, now a DCer.

Why are people applauding Richmond as some kind of model of urban development? It isn't. Yes, there are a million ways to get anywhere; there's also nearly nothing you can do on foot, particularly outside the Fan and a few neighborhoods downtown.

I grew up in the suburbs but lived in the city for two years before coming here; I spent a year at Monument and Boulevard where I drove everywhere, and a year at 18th and Main in Shockoe Bottom where I also drove everywhere. I rode the bus exactly once - when my car broke down - and my entire family was shocked that I had done so.

I'll take a little inconvenience in exchange for a much more livable city, thanks.

by Corey on Apr 19, 2012 2:47 pm • linkreport

In response to selxic, 2nd commenter, and his question: "Has the Tea Party done anything significant in Virginia?"

1. The TP, along w some other freedom groups, pushed the VA Health Care Freedom Act, HB 10, through the Gen Assby in 2010. It states that no Virginian shall be forced to purchase health insurance, among other things. VA AG Cuccinelli stated that this law gave VA "better standing" to sue the fed govt over ObamaCare.
2. The TP--in particular, US Sen candidate Jamie Radtke--secured the highly unusual sponsorship of the Repeal Amendment by Speaker Bill Howell in 2011. While the resolution, HJ 542, made it through the House, it was stymied in a Senate committee which ignored its own rules and didn't allow the full committee to vote on it.
3. The TP was highly engaged in the elections of Nov. 2011. With our help across the state, we helped make up for the deficit the Senate was dealt with redistricting, and then helped them gain two more seats. Ask Sens. Garrett and Stanley what impact the TP had on their victories.

My TP co-patriots will certainly mention many other "significant" success stories. These are just a few.

Between now and Nov., you might not see but you will certainly feel the presence of the TP in VA as we execute our plan to get out the vote.

by Joe Guarino on Apr 19, 2012 9:26 pm • linkreport

"But I'd rather live in Virginia than Maryland which by all measures of every national study right and left...finds Virginia to be the more progressive and economically viable.'
----

Virginia is "more progressive"?

So the last session of the Republican-dominated (so much for your "2-party system") General Assembly which accompilished nothing but promoting an extreme right-wing social agenda aimed at curtailing abortion rights and promoting gun avaialbility didn't really happen?

Tell you what. You have Virginia. as I mentioned before,in spite of your claims that you live in "better place", your "good government" fails every year to provide adequate funding for transportation in NOVA. In spite of all the projects you named, NOVA is strngling in traffic. And Virginia's roads statewide are crumbling. Like it or not, that's a fact.

by ceefer66 on Apr 20, 2012 12:32 pm • linkreport

@joe guarino

Thanks for that post.

I very much hope that the tea party make abundantly clear to virgians how central it is to the Va GOP - every virginian should know about that between now and November.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 20, 2012 12:50 pm • linkreport

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