Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tim Kaine's Road to a Tax Increase

The Virginian-Pilot editorial page today gives a nice outline of where the gubernatorial candidates are on transportation funding and what might actually happen if they were elected:
"In baseball terms, here are the differences. Potts wants to be a pitcher for higher road taxes. Kaine won’t be a pitcher, but he might be willing to catch, if the legislature first meets his demands and then throws some tax ideas his way.
And Kilgore says he won’t either pitch or catch, but he’s willing to arrange the game. He’d empower regional transportation authorities to raise sales or income taxes for transportation, so long as voters approve the hikes in a referendum. Kilgore says he will stay on the sidelines in a referendum vote, awaiting the outcome."
"The candidates are trapped between the presumed anti-tax sentiment of Virginia voters and the reality that Virginia can’t progress without efficiently moving people and goods."
If you accept the premise that voters won't elect someone who says they will raise taxes, and they also won't elect someone who won't do something about transportation, then it's kind of surreal how much effort is going into doing an end-run around the beloved vox populi.


At 8:45 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

We need to put "None of the Above" on the ballot.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Toomanytaxes said...

Virginia must stop committing hundreds of millions of dollars for a project that won't improve transportation -- the extension of Metrorail to Dulles Airport. The State's own Environmental Impact Statement demonstrates (Table 6.2.2) that building the now $1.6 billion rail extension will leave most major highways with same gridlock conditions that would exist if rail were not built.

Moreover, the costs for most large transportation projects increase substantially over the approved level. I've been informed by a knowledgeable engineer that the average project's final costs are 2.1 times the approved level. If that ratio were to hold for the Dulles Metro project, the total costs would approximate $3.4 billion. The State acknowledges that any cost overruns would be borne by the State.

So how many scarce transportation dollars will be spent on a project that its own supporters acknowledge will not provide substantial improvement to traffic congestion? Why should any Virginian pay a dime more in taxes when the Commonwealth plans to spend money in this manner?

Many believe that better results could be obtained at much less cost by building Bus Rapid Transit, but Virginia has rejected that alternative.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding Dulles rail to the mix won't alleviate congestion for the same reason that adding new lanes or bus rapid transit won't alleviate congestion: it is insufficient. We have too many people trying to go to the same place at the same time.

Consider the Air Traffic control system or the oceans, where travel is not dependent on pavement and equally available everywhere. Those systems still experience congestion at Chicago O'Hare and Atlanta or the reaches to New York and Suez.

No matter what you do or spend, as long as everyone is trying to go downtown, you have a problem.


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