Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Battle Over Transportation

I am beginning to hear some things trickling out from Governor-elect Tim Kaine's "Transportation Listening Tour" stop in Manassas. The following 8 point plan is the first I have SEEN regarding how to fix the problems. This plan was developed by Chairman Sean Connaughton, and brought up at the meeting tonight. 1)Develop a long-term method to ensure that adequate and reliable funding exists to finance current transportation projects and accelerate new projects; 2)Increase State involvement in planning and funding for the expansion of transit in this region and beyond; 3)Reward localities which have stepped forward to invest in transportation infrastructure by developing a large scale cost-sharing program that supplements existing programs; 4)Promote real progress on a bypass to redirect I-95 “through” traffic out of this region; 5)Increase capacity of regional road facilities such as I-95, I-66, I-395, I-495 and Routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50, 123 and 234; 6)Expand the ability of localities to link transportation and land use, as well as deal with stale zoning; 7)Examine and adjust the current management and budget system for transportation, include the role of the CTB, the VDOT central office, the funding formulas, and the responsibility and boundaries of the Nova district; and 8)Forbid the use of transportation funds for non-transportation purposes and increase efforts to restore trust in the transportation program through continued financial and budget reforms. In Fairfax besides Delegate Tim Hugo, I am not hearing much as far as actual ideas to help fix the problem. This thread is for discussion on the meeting in Manassas, on Connaughton's 8 point plan, and on what to do to solve our transportation crisis.


At 11/29/2005 11:02:00 PM, Anonymous anonymous said...

Give Colgan some credit in Prince William, as well as Delegate Peterson in Fairfax.

From both Republicans and Democrats I have not heard much in the way of an acutal plan, but the above eight point plan seems to make sense.

I personally agree with hotlanes though, and feel they would help lessen traffic.

At 11/29/2005 11:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kaine has no plan ITS ALL A STUNT

At 11/30/2005 07:18:00 AM, Anonymous NoVA Scout said...

The problem is so vast in Northern Virginia that a one-term governor would be working miracles simply to get a viable plan together in his administration - let alone get much done. Of course, success is then dependent on the next guy following through. This system of one-term governorships is a real draw-back in a modern age.

At 11/30/2005 09:24:00 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

As policy these ideas at least have some merit. But a plan is going to need a goal, milestones, schedule, and resources, none of which exist. The closest I have seen as a list of milestones is number 5, and it is far from complete.

Nova Scout is correct of course: after 30 years of anti-road special interest activism we can't expect to solve the problem in five years.
Kaine couldn't do it in ten years either.

Where I have a problem is with #6 "Linking land use and transportation planning". As a campaign slogan it is perfect because every group can think it means what they want.

But what does it mean? Some think it means we can stop home construction where roads are too crowded already, others see it as a mandate for public transit in those areas, traffic be damned. Others think it means we will build roads where land use already has created road demand. Some think it means and end to sprawl and others see it as an excuse to build where the roads are least crowded. Some see it as a rationale for redistributing our job centers.

Transportation planning is a 20 or 30 year process. Does this mean that a private landowner would have to get in the queue for land use decisions 20 years in advance of a proposed project? This is exactly what the ant-growth crowds hope for. In fact E.M. Risse of the Piedmont Environmental Council calls it a strategic stalemate.

There are no concrete plans for how to implement this, only modest policy guidelines. These guidelines are frequently the familiar smart growth slogans like more interconnected streets and fewer cul-de-sacs. This, of course, conflicts with the idea of fewer curb cuts. Other guides are for more pedestrian friendly communities, more choice in transportation, more dense construction to save open space, transit oriented development.

But here is the problem. None of these policies has been shown to actually reduce congestion, pollution, or travel time, even where modest reductions in travel distance have occurred. Furthermore, the results are not replicable: what seems to work in one area won't work in another.

Kaine seems to be going down the path of more choices in transportation, and linking land use, whatever that means.

Since we can't afford the system we have now, how are all those choices going to be funded? Since mode changes are very time consuming, won't this drastically increase travel times?

Such a system will be much more complex and therefore more expensive. As an example, almost half the money to open a VRE station In Gainesville involves moving the existing roads to keep grade separation.

Also notice that all the roads listed in #5 are radial roads, leading to the center. More and more we consist of edge cities with disperse job centers. But efforts to connect these centers are widely criticized, as with the tri-county connector.

At 11/30/2005 09:57:00 AM, Anonymous NoVA Scout said...

Soon-to-be-Governor Kaine would make a huge mistake to ignore the thoughts of Ray Hyde. He has given these issues a lot of thought and has shared them freely in the blog world.

At 11/30/2005 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Hirons said...

Wait Sean forgot point number 9 - buy all Virginians flying cars!

That has about as much feasiblity as any of the rest of the 8 points.

At 11/30/2005 11:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't undertstand what hirons said?????


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