We've been telling you about the McDonnell Administration's push for the Outer Beltway over the past two years, making the case that the project is a waste of money and will make traffic worse.
Last Tuesday, our opposition gained a major champion when Congressman Frank Wolf (VA-10)sent a scathing letter to Governor McDonnell expressing “serious reservations” about the project.
Congressman Wolf's opposition is just the latest in a string of objections: At the end of April, six legislatorsfrom Northern Virginia announced their opposition to the project (including the Tri-County/Bi-County Parkway segment between I-66 and Route 50).
Citizens like you are mounting opposition to the project, too. Over 400 people attended one recent town hall alone.
This road project matters to everyone in Northern Virginia because it will have far-flung impacts -- wasting limited state resources, enabling sprawl, increasing traffic, and harming existing communities and the environment along the way.
The Project Doesn’t Add Up With VDOT about to allocate the next six years of transportation dollars, we need to prioritize improvements that will make the most difference to people who are stuck in traffic today. The Outer Beltway is not a good use of transportation dollars, because:
It doesn't address our overwhelming traffic problems on roads like I-66, Route 50, I-95 and other major commuter routes.
It diverts funds that the state should be using to invest in Dulles Rail Phase 2, Tysons Corner transportation needs and the Route 1 corridor.
It would cost at least $1 billion according to VDOT, and the associated connector roads to the west side of Dulles could cost another $500 million or more.
It would add more traffic to already congested commuter routes I-66 and Rt. 50 due to higher levels of residential development within the Prince William Rural Crescent and the Loudoun rural Transition Area, .
Ideas that Make More Sense This is not a situation where we have to choose between the Outer Beltway or nothing. There are lots of alternative transportation solutions that have been long-promised and would improve traffic flow right away. Things like:
Improving the interchange at Braddock Road and Rt 28.
Expanding the interchange at I-66 and Rt. 28.
Extending VRE to Gainesville and Metrorail to Centreville.
Investing in Dulles Rail Phase 2 instead of forcing northern Virginians to pay most of the costs.
Targeted use of roundabouts to keep people from sitting at key intersections in Loudoun and Prince William.
And that's just to name a few. We’ve joined the Piedmont Environmental Council in listing a set of alternative transportation solutions in Loudoun, western Prince William and western Fairfax that can be found in more detail on our website: smartergrowth.net/virginia/outer-beltway, and would welcome your feedback.
We personally thank the six Virginia State Delegates and Senators, as well as Congressman Wolf, for their leadership in questioning this wasteful highway. Please add your voice to the list of citizens who demand smarter, more effective transportation solutions going forward.
Stewart -- Stewart Schwartz Executive Director Coalition for Smarter Growth
P.S. - On May 29, VDOT will hold a public hearing on their proposed projects for funding in the state Six-Year Transportation Plan. VDOT has also announced a Public Information Session on the project on Monday, June 3 in Manassas. There's also a meeting about the Dulles Access Road alternatives on Thursday, June 13th in Ashburn. Learn more here. Yes, it's a full-court press, and they need to hear your strong opposition to the highway.
Back in 2000, I read and reviewed the superb book Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream." The book describes how America decided, consciously, to pursue a development pattern known as "sprawl," based in large part on massive subsidization of automobile travel, as well as almost complete discounting of negative "externalities" such as environmental damage, medical treatment necessitated by car-related injuries and pollution, adverse economic and national security implications of our "oil addiction, etc. Instead of incorporating all those "externalities" into the price of gasoline, we instead pay the cheapest price for gasoline in the developed world. Here in Virginia, our current governor just recently proposed making matters even worse, by slashing the gasoline tax. Another Republican, Jim Gilmore, came to power in part by promising "no car tax" - the exact opposite of what "Suburban Nation" recommends we should be doing if we want to have livable communities and a society that works for everyone.
Today, 13 years after my book review, gasoline is double the $1.75 per gallon (in inflation-adjusted dollars) that it was back then. We're also living in the aftermath of 9/11, which in part resulted from the bin Laden family's petrodollars funding a previously obscure group named "Al Qaeda." Since 2000, the threat of global warming has become far more urgent, while our economy has experienced a real estate collapse concentrated mostly in areas (e.g., Prince William County) where gasoline-fueled transport, long commutes, and large houses heated and cooled by fossil fuels, are king, and where sprawl is the standard development model. In stark contrast, places like Arlington and Alexandria - walkable, bikeable, near Metro stations - saw little decline in housing prices, followed by a sharp rebound in the past couple years. Coincidence? I think not.
1. As I've pointed out, and as others - Arlington County Board experts, for instance - have explained time and again, "modern bus transit" (whatever that is exactly) or "Bus Rapid Transit" (which requires a dedicated right-of-way) are simply not possible on Columbia Pike. As Alpert explains, "It would be fantastic to dedicate lanes on Columbia Pike, but the Virginia Department of Transportation isn't willing to consider reallocating space from cars to transit, even if more people would be moved in the higher-capacity trains or buses." End of story. Next subject!
2. BRT supporters can deny or hand-wave this point away as much as they want, but it doesn't make it (aka, "reality") disappear. As Alpert humorously puts it, "Personally, I favor 'Star Trek'-style transporters on Columbia Pike, which would be far faster than any car, bus or train, but those are just as nonexistent." LOL - exactly! Nor are there dedicated lanes for any BRT or "modern bus transit" (whatever that is; it remains undefined by people who throw that phrase around as if it actually means something).
3. Among the MANY advantages of streetcars, Alpert explains, is that they "can transport more people than buses can and usually stimulate more economic development than an equivalent bus project." Let's see, it transports more people and brings more economic value to the community than adding more buses. Hmmm...gee, this is a really tough call! (not)
4. Of course, nobody's arguing that streetcars are the right fit for every situation. You have to analyze the specifics of each particular case, which is exactly what Arlington's done for over a decade now. And, not surprisingly, Arlington's come to the same conclusion over and over again, that - as Alpert puts it, "streetcars are Arlington's best bet" - the "right mode" for Columbia Pike.
The bottom line here is that the Columbia Pike streetcar's almost certainly going to happen, barring a truly bizarre turn of events (e.g., the Tea Party takes over the Arlington County board?). For starters, it's conceivable that somebody could primary leading streetcar advocate and County Board member Chris Zimmerman next year (in fact, I've heard VERY strong rumors that this is EXACTLY what's in the works) and try to replace him with someone who opposes the streetcar. That would be a huge mistake, to put it mildly, and we should all strongly oppose any candidate who runs on such a platform.
For those of you who missed it late Friday afternoon, the news broke that "[t]he Federal Transit Administration has declined Arlington and Fairfax County's joint application for funding for the planned Columbia Pike streetcar system." On the surface, of course, this sounds bad, if you're a strong supporter of the streetcar, as I am (and as are most people who favor smart growth/transit-oriented development). However, dig a little deeper, and the lack of federal funds is not only not such a bad thing, but this news might actually turn out to be a good thing, in combination with another development right here in Virginia in recent months. A few points I've gathered from talking to people, reading the press releases, etc.
1. A strong majority (4 out of 5) of the Arlington County Board remains firmly committed to the streetcar project. Nothing has changed in that regard. This thing's a done deal, despite all the shouting by a vocal minority.
2. As for the federal money, it's very unusual for projects of this nature to get funded on the first go-around. In this case, it turns out that the problem is much bigger than that; namely, the FTA didn't fund ANY rail or BRT for the first time in 20 years. Check this out.
The final FY 2013 appropriation was $380 million below the President's request for the
New Starts/Small Starts program. Reductions in FY 2013 funding are partially attributed to the automatic spending reductions under sequestration. As a result, FTA reduced the FY 2013 payout level of all existing construction grant agreements for capital projects. Additionally, FTA was unable to make new funding commitments for new capital rail or bus rapid transit (BRT) projects for the first time in roughly 20 years.
In other words, thanks to the Teahadist House of Representatives, investment in America's future has been slashed, to the detriment of all of us. It's totally pathetic, wrong, you name it, but this is the type of mindless, know-nothing attitude that swept to power in the madness of the 2010 mid-term elections. Unfortunately, we're all going to be paying the price for those elections for a long, long time to come, both at the national and local levels. Thanks a lot, Teapublicans and those who voted for them (or stayed home because they falsely believed their votes "didn't matter" - ugh!).
I strongly recommend that anyone concerned about the Arlington County streetcar project watch this video. Why? Because, as a strong supporter, I believe it makes an overwhelming case FOR the streetcar (and against the arguments of the streetcar opponents). Don't believe me? Again, watch the video for yourself. As you do, listen to the Arlington County professional staff thoroughly, methodically lay make the case for why a streetcar makes sense; why there's no possibility of "bus rapid transit" along the Columbia Pike corridor (no dedicated lane, no chance of "rapid" - end of story); why the money for this project is NOT "fungible" with other needs in the county; why this will add tremendous value to the Columbia Pike corridor, even as it protects low-income housing stock; why this is a crucial part of Arlington's vision for a sustainable, prosperous future; etc, etc. As the Arlington Patch reported:
Several residents stayed afterward to thank the board members for their leadership on what's turning out to be an increasingly difficult issue. "I came in skeptical but now I think the streetcar is a no-brainer," one woman told Tejada after shaking his hand.
Watch the video, think about this one, and I believe you'll agree with what that woman said to Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada.
P.S. The Coalition for Smarter Growth handed out a Columbia Pike Streetcar flyer that sums up the arguments FOR the streetcar very well: 1) "Economic Development" ("Streetcars outperform regular buses in spurring economic development"); 2) "Streetcars Can Carry More People;" 3) "We Need the Capacity;" 4) "Planning & Community Input Has Been Significant" ("Arlington County has completed a planning and community input process of almost 10 years.").
Richmond - Today the General Assembly passed Governor Bob McDonnell's amendments to the historic transportation compromise. Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Delegate Charniele Herring released the following statement on its passage:
"I am encouraged that Democrats and Republicans were able to work with Governor McDonnell and pass this historic transportation bill despite Ken Cuccinelli's multiple attempts to derail it," said DPVA Chair, Del. Charniele Herring. "This transportation bill isn't perfect, but it will fund the construction and maintenance we need to reduce gridlock, grow our economy and improve Virginians' quality of life.
"Today's vote should be an important lesson for Virginians as we draw closer to electing our next Governor. While leaders on both sides of the aisle were working together to get results, Ken Cuccinelli tried repeatedly to torpedo the bipartisan compromise from the sidelines. Virginians can't afford to give Ken Cuccinelli four years as Governor to stand in the way of mainstream solutions that run afoul of his extreme ideological agenda."
At the County Board Town Hall meeting Wednesday night we saw the county present the facts about Arlington’s streetcar plans:
the years-long community process,
the greater capacity of streetcars,
the greater preference of riders for streetcars,
the benefits of streetcars to local businesses, and
the economic and environmental benefits.
It was encouraging to see support from so many of our Arlington friends and neighbors. I am sure we impressed the county board with the extent of community support for Arlington streetcars, as well as the high level of enthusiasm. They saw that we not only support the streetcar plans, but that we are eager for the county to expedite the detailed design and construction process.
We need to do more to keep up the momentum.
Please write to the county board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell them that you support streetcars, the higher quality of life they will help bring to our neighborhoods, the support for our local businesses, the environmental benefits, and all the other reasons you want progress on the Pike and in Crystal City to continue.
Talk to your friends and neighbors; make it a point to get at least one other person to sign on as a supporter at http://streetcarnow.org. Volunteer-- we need help reaching out to people at events like farmers markets; contact email@example.com. Or donate, if you can, at http://streetcarnow.org. Flyers and information sheets cost money, and we have too little. We have a lot of work to do to make sure people understand the facts, so they will join with us.
Here are a few Virginia (and national) news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, March 29. The photo is from yesterday's anti-gun-violence event at the White House, as President Obama hugs Virginia Tech mom Lori Haas, now with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
The following press release is from Arlington Streetcar Now. I'll have more later, but for now I'll just say that the County Board and staff thoroughly, patiently, and comprehensively answered every question about whether or not to build a streetcar, and overwhelmingly confirmed my view that this is not just the best way to go, but the only serious way to go. Let's build this thing already!
Arlington, VA - Supporters of the long-planned Arlington street car project came out in force tonight at a town hall meeting held to inform the public about the proposed streetcar system that would link Fairfax County and Alexandra through Columbia Pike and Crystal City. County staff presented information about the project, dispelled myths, and answered questions from citizens.
"Arlingtonians strongly support moving forward with the streetcar which neighborhoods and businesses have been working to bring about for a decade." said John Snyder, president of Arlington Streetcar Now, a grassroots organization of Arlington residents and business leaders who support the streetcar as part of the revitalization of Columbia Pike and Crystal City. "The streetcar represents a next-generation transit solution that will increase capacity, improve ridership, and spark new investment that will enhance and revitalize our community."
Having once provided legal advice to a boxing commission, I have to ask: should the state of Virginia grant a boxing license to the fight between Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli? At this rate, I am not sure it could get a license in most other states given the AG's press release cited below.
On transportation, Terry has a policy: Mr. Cuccinelli has a legal opinion. They are not running for the same job, at least yet.
There is a good, solid political reason why Virginia Attorney Generals have opted to resign as opposed to remaining in office while running for governor. Contrary to what the AG thinks, it has nothing to do with the ability to do both jobs, as a matter of intellectual ability or work load. With all due respect, neither position is all that difficult. Rather, it is something far different.
I am presuming Professor Sabato will discuss this at some point with his class, using yesterday's press release for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as the only necessary course material. I quote now the pertinent part, thanking ace Washington Examiner political guy Steve Contorno:
Gov. Bob McDonnell has amended the transportation funding reform bill to potentially extend regional taxing authorities beyond Virginia's urban areas to other areas statewide in an effort to satisfy concerns about its constitutionality.
Also, per the Pilot on Politics twitter feed, "Our sources were right @BobMcDonnell prps $64 alt car fee instd of $100." Of course, that's still $64 too much, still makes absolutely no sense, still penalizes people who are doing the right thing by going green(er). #FAIL
P.S. Speaking of #FAIL, McDonnell reportedly has also signed a bill requiring photo ID in Virginia. We'll see you in court (and at the DOJ), governor!
UPDATE: McDonnell vetoes Arlington's transient occupancy tax. Also, 7 other vetoes, 80 amendments to bills.
UPDATE #2: On HB1900 ("Health insurance reform; revises State's laws."), McDonnell adds, "No qualified health insurance plan that is sold or offered for sale through an exchange established or operating in the Commonwealth shall provide coverage for abortions, regardless of whether such coverage is provided through the plan or is offered as a separate optional rider thereto, provided that such limitation shall not apply to an abortion performed (i) when the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or (ii) when the pregnancy is the result of an alleged act of rape or incest"
UPDATE #3: Gov. McDonnell added 12 more judges, including 11 vacancies - based on workloads, and/or places with 2 vacancies, it fills at least one.
UPDATE #4: See the comments section of this diary for tons more info...
From the latest (3/24/13) Northern Virginia Tea Party Newsletter, these people are seriously - as in, this apparently isn't parody - opposing the proposed Arlington County streetcar project because of...wait for it...Agenda 21. What is this evil known as Agenda 21, you ask? How about "a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development?" Crazy, I know. And speaking of tinfoil-hat crazy, Glenn Beck opposes it because..."This used to be called America. Now it is just 'the Republic.' There is no president. No congress. No freedom. There is only Agenda 21." And it all starts with a seemingly innocuous streetcar line in Arlington County, Virginia. Shuddderrrrr... (snark)
P.S. Needless to say, I strongly urge non-Tea-Party Arlingtonians to come out in large numbers Wednesday evening to express your support for the streetcar, and to say NO to John Bircher/tinfoil hat nuttiness.
"Call me puzzled" isn't how Herman Melville opened Moby Dick, but it's close enough for me at this point. Because yours truly is truly puzzled by the Attorney General's opinion on the regional transportation taxes, even though the AG methodically comes to the same overall conclusion that Norm Leahy and I first predicted would happen in our controversial Washington Post op-ed. The brain trust at the AG's office concluded that the discriminatory regional taxes in the transportation plan are unconstitutional. But they do it on a specific, narrowly drawn section of the Virginia constitution, one discussing local laws and sensible classifications, as opposed to a broader philosophic discussion about the basic legal building block of the constitution. This makes it Bob Marshall 2 and Bob McDonnell 0 on this constitutional stuff.
Thus, the AG's office comes to the same specific conclusion we did, but goes small where I think it needed to go large. It relies on a cryptic footnote in the 2008 Marshall case - where the VA Supreme Court ruled Governor Kaine's transportation rooted in local taxes unconstitutional - to smack down McDonnell's 2013 "legacy maker." But the 2008 taxes centered solely on NOVA. Here in 2013, it is far more complicated plan, wrapped around clearly constitutional state taxes and funding formulas. The regional taxes include one in Tidewater, thus we have more than 50% of the voters impacted.
The transportation plan doesn't merely cross the line into prohibited local taxes by the General Assembly. Rather, it is reflective of a growing philosophy in our politics: that there are two Virginias now, only this time it isn't about white and black. The transportation plan doesn't merely drive a hole through a clause or two; it is a direct attack on the constitution, one that needs to be repelled with a big thrust, not with clever lawyering.
I don't, therefore, find the AG's legal analysis wholly satisfying. It concedes the very point at the heart of the Virginia Constitution: that as a matter of broad constitutional theory, the pact between the regions that produced the state of Virginia protected them from being subject to discriminatory taxation by a majority of non-resident legislators in Richmond. I wanted the head cut off of the snake: he instead went more for a body shot.
In that regard therefore, I wonder out loud: is this a loophole for Terry McAuliffe and others to exploit should they truly believe the AG's opinion is nothing more than politics masquerading as law? Perhaps exploit isn't the right word: Terry and others are sincere in their belief that the transportation plan is constitutional, and that Cuccinelli only ruled out of ideology.
Forget Dr. Freud: he was into dreams. In Virginia right now, we have reality. There is a good legal reason - four reasons actually - for Governor Bob McDonnell's self-evident hesitation so far about whether to merely sign the transportation tax deal or make amendments. Considering the governor and the plan's supporters have been praising themselves for having done something "historic," this hesitation would normally have the media in a lather speculating. The Pope didn't play Hamlet for weeks once having won his historic place in history. He went right out among the people. Not so His Excellency, the Governor.
Why the Hamlet-like hesitation? In a few minutes, you will know.
As Mr. Lincoln said: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time.
So yes, maybe Gov. McDonnell's office is telling the truth, maybe the transportation bill landed at the bottom of the pile. And yes, maybe Mr. McDonnell follows a LILO inventory management system: Last In, Last Out. This is acceptable under accounting rules.
Thus, the transportation tax deal, having been passed right at the end of the session, went straight to the bottom of the pile. But as Yogi Berra famously said: Some things are just too coincidental to be a coincidence. Moreover, I know have enough facts to formulate a better reason.
Namely: Contrary to the earlier dismissal of my op-ed in the Washington Post challenging the constitutionality of the transportation tax deal's discriminatory, double taxation of Northern Virginia and Tidewater residents, the powers-that-be have suddenly decided that maybe Norm Leahy and I had a legit legal point or two. Or four legit points, as the case may be, namely the four regional taxes named in our piece.
That's right: They have read the piece again, circulated it, and been told about what op-ed space didn't permit; namely, a discussion of footnote (3) in the Marshall case. This is why the Washington Post gave the op-ed so much play.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is out with its 2013 report card on America's infrastructure, and it's not a pretty picture (note: click on image to "embiggen") - either for the country as a whole, or for Virginia specifically. Virginia gets a D+ grade, with problems like:
*1,250 structurally deficient bridges
*47% of roads either in poor or mediocre shape
*184 high-hazard dams
*Billions of dollars needed for wastewater and drinking water upgrades.
*Over 46% of schools over 40 years old.
*Pressing needs for improvements in Virginia's power grid and alternative energy sources, or else "electrical power rates must increase between 50 and 70 percent over the next 10 years"
Since Gov. McDonnell is currently considering what to do with the recently-passed transportation bill, it's worth highlighting that the ASCE full report on Virginia gives our roads a D- grade, for the following reasons:
Increasing traffic congestion on Virginia roads is choking major urban areas and is having a negative impact on businesses, commuters, and tourists. VTrans 2025 identifies a funding shortfall for road investment of $74 billion. In the last three fiscal year budgets (2008-2010) transportation funding has decreased 38% or by $3.2 billion. If current trends continue by 2014, state highway funds will be insufficient to match federal funds, resulting in Virginia losing its share of federal funding.
As for rail and transit, the report finds that a "sustainable source of funding for new or expanded rail and transit services is critical to Virginia's future economic success." Last but not least, "more than 50 percent of the state's bridges are approaching the end of their anticipated service design lives, making Virginia's bridges among the oldest in the
I received the following email earlier today from the Virginia Sierra Club and thought it was worth passing along. I'm strongly supportive of this streetcar project, and urge everyone to show your support as well. Thanks.
Dear Arlington Sierra Club Members and Supporters,
Please plan on attending an Arlington County Board Town Hall Meeting next Wednesday night to show support for the Columbia Pike Streetcar. The opponents of the streetcar project will be there in force. We need to turn out as many supporters as possible.
For ten years Arlington County has been working to build a streetcar as the key element for the sustainable revitalization and redevelopment of the Columbia Pike corridor. The Mt. Vernon Group of the Sierra Club has actively supported the streetcar plan since 2007 primarily because streetcars reduce automobile use more than any other means of mass transit. Streetcars may also run on electricity derived from renewable energy sources, a priority for Club activism, rather than natural gas used by the proposed bus alternative. That makes streetcars a better long-term solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources.
But recently there has been strident opposition, making false or inaccurate claims that may yet threaten the project and the future of the revitalization of the Pike area.
How you can help:
You can help just by showing up and wearing a Streetcar Now.org sticker (available at the meeting). You can also help by asking a question about the streetcar at the meeting so the accurate information is heard.
Neighborhood Streetcar Town Hall
Wednesday night March 27, 6:45 PM to 9:00 PM, Kenmore Middle School Auditorium, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, Arlington. Board members will discuss the vision and community process that led to the Board's decision to build streetcar lines along Columbia Pike and the Route 1 corridor, between Crystal City and Pentagon City, answer questions, and talk about next steps.
Interesting, although in the current era of mindless austerity we're living through (thanks Teapublicans!), I'm not sure I see this happening for a long, long time.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Gerry Connolly introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives with Congressman Jim Moran to study the extension of Metrorail into the Woodbridge area of eastern Prince William County, the Richmond Highway corridor of southern Fairfax County, and the Centreville area in western Fairfax County.
The bill would authorize analysis of and project development for extending the existing Orange, Blue, and Yellow Metro lines further into Northern Virginia to serve hundreds of thousands of additional Virginians and get more cars off of the region’s congested highways.
“Residents in Prince William and western Fairfax County already experience some of the longest commutes in the nation, and these communities will experience continued growth,” Connolly said. “We need to look at solutions that take cars off the roads and provide viable transportation alternatives for our citizens. Whether or not we determine that Metrorail is the best solution, we must begin the conversation now.”
“Northern Virginia has the worst traffic in the nation, impacting the quality of life for the hundreds of thousands of commuters who sit in traffic hours each day,” Moran said. “`Public transit is the answer to this unrelenting congestion. It’s better for commuters, our economy and the environment. Every $1 invested in public transit yields $4 in economic benefits. As the population in this region continues to grow, so must our public transportation infrastructure.”
In September 2011, Connolly jumpstarted the dialogue in Prince William when several hundred interested citizens, elected officials, and experts participated in Connolly’s Metro Summit in Woodbridge on the feasibility of bring Metrorail to Prince William.
The Connolly-Moran bill, The Northern Virginia Metrorail Extension Act (H.R. 907), cites three potential Metrorail projects:
·Extension of the Blue Line along the I-95 corridor, including the Engineer Proving Grounds, through Woodbridge to Potomac Mills in Prince William County;
·Extension of the Orange Line to Centerville in western Fairfax County;
·Extension of the Yellow Line along the Route 1 corridor, including Fort Belvoir, in Fairfax and Prince William Counties.
Connolly’s legislation is in sync with the comprehensive plans for both Fairfax and Prince William Counties, which identify the need to develop alternate transit concepts, including an extension of the existing Metro lines. In addition, Metro’s draft strategic plan, Momentum: The Next Generation of Metro, identifies these as expansion future opportunities.
Connolly said the extension of Metro could increase economic growth in the region and minimize additional traffic congestion. “We have already experienced the benefits of transit-oriented development along Metro lines in Arlington, Alexandria, Vienna, Merrifield and Tysons,” Connolly said.
Last we heard from Dave Albo, he was regaling us with the tale of how his wife wouldn't have sex with him because he voted for transvaginal ultrasound. Hilarious, huh? I know, it's a real howler. Ha ha ha. Ha. Whatever.
Anyway, Dave Albo is baaaaack, and now he's regaling us with yet another story of his amazing exploits. This time, though, he's not out to protect Virginia women from...themselves, I guess, but to save Virginia motorists from endless gridlock thanks to...people like him, I guess. That's right, earlier today on the WAMU Politics Hour radio show, Dave Albo claimed the following about the transportation bill:
...the Democrats agreed to do a transfer of $200 million out, which is a lot of money, out of general spending, and we agreed to raise new revenue, that's how the compromise happened. You know, I mean, I've got people on both sides who are mad at me, but bottom line is I've solved the problem. Well, I shouldn't say I...Bob McDonnell, Speaker Howell and others have solved the problem.
Is this guy delusional or what? I mean, first of all the concept that Dave Albo personally negotiated the transportation deal is utterly laughable. At least he quickly corrected himself on that Freudian slip/howler, acknowledging that, oh yeah, Bob McDonnell and Bill Howell might have had something to do with this (not to mention Janet Howell, Dick Saslaw, etc.).
Second, if Albo really believes that the problem of transportation in Virginia is even CLOSE to being "solved" (in fact, we'll need multiples more money - perhaps $100 billion over 20 years - than this deal provides, if we're going to ever come close to "solving" the problem), then I've got him a nice toll road to sell him! More to the point, if he really believes that, then he certainly shouldn't be in the General Assembly, because he has no clue what he's saying or doing.
So, any normal person would try to correct himself as soon as he realize how badly he screwed up. But no, this is Dave Albo we're talking about, the same guy who joked about his wife not having sex with him because he voted for transvaginal ultrasound, and thought he was just oh-so-clever and oh-so-hilarious in doing so. In this case, the terminally clueless Albo doubles down (see the video clip above) on his idiocy, claiming that "transportation is now done, solved," so the 2013 gubernatorial candidates "don't have to argue about it." I mean, what can you even say about someone like this, except to laugh at him? Oh, and that it would be nice if Democrats could actually defeat this bozo one of these years...
Great job by Del. Surovell in explaining why the hybrid fee is terrible public policy, illogical, arbitrary, and needs to be repealed by Gov. McDonnell. Also, make sure you sign the petition here. It's now nearing 4,000 signatures in just 48 hours or so; let's kick it up to 5,000...10,000...and beyond!
P.S. One interesting note from this interview is that Del. Surovell - and possibly Sen. Petersen as well - apparently agrees with Paul Goldman that the transportation package may very well be unconstitutional.
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