March 24, 2012
Not JUST politics, State and local politics, the most appalling politics of all.
So as a courtesy to our readers we've hidden it bellow the fold.
Click to be appalled...
For some years the political clout of Northern Virginia has been increasing dramatically. This has been financed by the explosive expansion of the federal government and the scads of government workers employed in and around DC. As the rest of the nation has suffered the counties in Northern Virginia have become among the nations richest, commensurate with the concentration of wealth in the DC area. With all this wealth and population comes considerable political clout. Northern Virginia has been pushing their weight around the state for some time. As one might expect, those whose prosperity depends on government expanding tend to lean left.
Virginia's temporary buffer against this juggernaut was the relatively populous southeast.
Now, in trying to deal with a real revenue crisis and real infrastructure shortfalls in the rest of the state, Governor Bob McDonnell has blown up that buffer with the imminent introduction of onerous tolls on all the bridges and tunnels in the Southeastern portion of the state. The tolls are open ended meaning they can and will be raised with inflation.
The tolls will be
collected by a contractor that has a repugnantly sweetheart deal
allowing them to not only raise tolls but to keep collecting them for
60+ years. If the tolls are somehow rescinded after they start. has to pay
the company the revenues it would have gotten anyway. In fact Even if the whole thing were killed now the state still have to pay 40 million to the company.
This is going to seriously hurt the locals because the rivers, canals
and bays make not crossing bridges multiple times a day impossible for a
lot of people. I cross these thresholds 3-5 times a day going to work,
school and home, more if I visit friends or shop. We're looking at a thousand dollars a year for a lot of people. This is going to neuter a lot of intercity commerce.
But nobody imagined a deal this bad.
In all the region's decades of deliberations, no one was asked whether they wanted to pay car tolls of $1.84 during rush hour. No one dreamed of paying tolls for years before improvements begin. No one expected tolls that could rise by more than 3.5 percent each year. No one even considered a toll concession that allows profits to a private company of more than 13 percent.
The question isn't whether the Downtown and Midtown tunnels are a priority for Hampton Roads. They are. They have been for years.
The question is whether getting those projects done is worth the price Hampton Roads is being told to pay. It is not.
Those prices are the starting prices. The tolls will begin to increase almost immediately.
The Virginian Pilot is a left leaning Knight Ridder rag that doesn't do much to explain the problems the governor faces. Or that the Northern Virginia area that has been essentially taking over VA politics is overwhelmingly democratic. The result is that the locals are on the warpath and the only target they see is the Virginia GOP. A vote against Obama is seen as a vote for the people who are hurting them...so....
The dems could run zombie Hitler and many residents would vote for him just to hurt the Republicans who allowed this atrocity to happen on their watch. The rage and feelings of betrayal down here are such that Bobby Mac has quite possibly made southeastern Virginia implacably democrat for the next 60 years.
If McDonnell is Romneys Veep as is often speculated...I see no way he wins Virginia.
I’m going to vote against Obama in November, the stakes for the nation are too high to do otherwise, but I’m likely to be very much in the minority around here. The people who live here have been burned hard by this. I saw a friend fly into a rage and nearly punch through his wall when I told him I was going to vote against Obama. He's actually an apolitical sort, but this matter has galvanized him.
If the National GOP wants any chance of getting Virginia's 13 electoral votes, they had best put pressure on the Virginia GOP to nix this deal. There is a ready made, politically viable alternative: an increase in the gas tax currently seems to enjoy broad local support.
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