Tough Choices Needed To Address Local Gridlock
At the October 10th Board of Supervisors meeting, Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) Administrator Paul Agnello provided a presentation that listed reasons to consider a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA).
In this scenario presented by Mr. Agnello a family making $60,000 annually could pay an estimated $166 extra in sales tax. The revenue would be specifically earmarked for regional transportation projects and could be leveraged for local projects to score better in the State’s SMARTSCALE process, which awards state funding for transportation projects. In the first two rounds of SMARTSCALE, projects with leveraged funding typical secured higher scores and were more likely to win state approval.
Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads have RTAs and do better during the SMARTSCALE process.
On October 10th, the Board of Supervisors voted 7-0 to reject further discussion on this topic. At a recent candidate’s forum, one of my opponents called this a horrible idea. No viable solutions were offered to address current gridlock that most citizens and officials voice complaints about.
It is my understanding Spotsy elected officials would serve on any RTA. If upon developing the scope, composition, and objectives of this RTA no consensus could be reached that ensure Spotsy residents are well represented we could withdraw and know we attempted to find a solution. To reject an idea primary due to increased tax burden is disappointing.
Transportation issues will not be accomplished free of charge. We can continue to pontificate about our problems while our citizens sit in gridlock away from their families and sacrificing their quality of life or we can start working to chart a realistic course toward a solution.
If this new revenue can ease the congestion on our local roads and increase everyone’s quality of life than the $166 additional sales tax revenue per year might seem more reasonable.
Spotsylvania County can not create this without at least one other locality joining nor without the approval of the General Assembly. If some elected officials are concerned about blowback than I would support a Referendum to provide them with ‘political cover’ to move forward.
However, to outright dismiss a solution that has assisted other localities with transportation issues without providing any alternatives or telling constituents gridlock is here to stay in Spotsylvania demonstrates either a lack of vision on one hand or a lack of courage on the other.
Click here for the Free Lance Star article.
Click here for the FAMPO RTA presentation.
Click here to watch the FAMPO RTA presentation. See Minute Marker 50:00.
Click here to review a previous post I made on RTA.