Wednesday, June 20, 2012

VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION FUNDING -- Example of legislative dysfunction nationwide


VIRGINIA – TRANSPORTATION FUNDING 
While this letter, published June 16, 2012, is in regard to initiatives to lease the ports of Virginia, in essence it is applicable to legislators and governing bodies in general. We have needs for revenue to fund highway improvements statewide. There are periodic pushes to increase taxes,  and to create "revenue streams" but we have a formula for allocation of transportation that is outdated and does not give priority to where needs are greatest. It's a politically derived formula of 30+ years that no longer applies. I think it is pertinent to post here, not only for Virginians, but for others at large because it shows how citizens pay a huge price because of inadequacies in those elected to represent them. Our current FEDERAL GOVERNMENT epitomizes this dilemma. It is difficult to see how it can improve. Thank you for reading below.

The VA Gazette's lead on June 6, “Funding for Roads is Way Outdated” by Cortney Langley, confirms concerns we've had for many years. The sacrosanct “Transportation Funding Formula is wrong and legislators refuse to correct it.” It's is indisputably wrong, and even egregious, that Virginians must consider losing such a valuable and irreplaceable asset as our ports in being held hostage to the funding formula by legislators unwilling to solve the problem of disparity. Those who are favored by the biased formula are self-serving while those who are disadvantaged haven't the courage to take on the issue. Neither shows concern for what is best the commonwealth – fix the formula, make it fair for all! It is not acceptable for legislators who represent those of us who are disadvantaged to fatalistically decide, without even trying, that no solutions can be found to serve the entire commonwealth. To lose our ports, or other important assets, because of such fatalistic and timid attitude is not acceptable.

The transportation secretary confirmed the formula problem with us. He commented that he “flew over many areas and looked down at 200-year roads with little to no traffic.” Cortney Langley confirmed that legislators are the problem in her investigation. Because legislators will not address the unfair formula, we get proposals to sell valuable assets such as the ports, and even the ABC operations, that are not not acceptable. Only legislators can solve this problem. And, they must! And, the governor must get involved.

Senator Norment's allusion to inciting civil war is frustrating. His comment that “no sensible legislator has the folly [sic] to fire the first shot on that one” indicts all legislators who haven't the courage to address the problem as it indicts others for being uncooperative – self-serving. Legislators are elected to serve their constituents' special needs, but all must work together to serve the universal needs of the entire commonwealth. Clearly, legislators are derelict in doing so with roads.

As a result, we get unacceptable proposals such as selling off assets from those trying to find solutions to problems that remain intractable because of self-serving attitudes of some and lack of courage of others to do their jobs. This is unacceptable and must be dealt with. Who has the courage and sense of fairness to do so?

Joe Mann
Phil Richardson
James City County

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