A word to the northern Virginia business community: First ask where the money’s going.


    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    It sounds good when the business community pushes for something important (PDF) like transportation funding – especially given northern Virginia's needs. But simply throwing money at a problem is never a good idea – and no successful business would do so.

    We've been tracking VDOT's spending, including a record $3 billion in borrowed money, and we believe much of it is being squandered. Before seeking higher taxes for transportation or proposing to divert money from the state's General Fund intended to support education, health care, and other needs, the northern Virginia business community should question why the current administration is diverting money to rural highways of questionable value.

    Meanwhile, the administration is not investing enough of their record transportation funds in the most congested parts of northern Virginia and has made an all too small and very tenuous commitment to Dulles Rail. Instead of using money from the currently flush state transportation fund to support the high priority Dulles Rail serving the economic engines of the state, the administration says it will seek a $150 million legislative earmark from the General Assembly. I wouldn't bet my house on that.

    Like any good business, we need to audit current spending, reevaluate outdated project lists, and focus our resources where they are most needed.

    We’ve said it before: Top priorities should be addressing our maintenance backlogs and operating needs for roads, bridges and transit, followed by investments which address the worst traffic corridors. Funding and projects should be tied to supporting more efficient land use and reductions in the amount people have to drive. Better land use is the cheapest and most effective approach we can take, reducing vehicle trips and vehicle miles traveled.

    We need serious reform in transportation planning and priorities in order to justify further increases in VDOT funding. Any good business would support such a reassessment before making new investments.

    — Laura, Coalition for Smarter Growth


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