Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Transportation: A better way

On Friday, Senator Marty Williams, Chairman of the Senate Transportation sent out a news release hailing the efforts of his committee. He states:

Yesterday my Senate Transportation Committee passed out several House measures to hold down construction costs by expanding design - build contract opportunities. Next we will closely examine expanding maintenance privatization and require the Transportation Commissioner to report each year plans and progress in privatization.

Another Senate bill sets in motion the process to amend the state Constitution to put transportation funds in a lock box. Citizens will be assured that transportation taxes are spent for transportation and nothing else.

This is great news, and it's good to see the legislature moving forward on some of the “better ways” to addressing transportation that have been discussed here on the blog. We hope that these types of efforts continue to move forward so that we can address transportation needs smarter and more efficiently.

Unfortunately, many in Richmond, including the executive branch, are still claiming we cannot wait for these reforms to kick in and generate cost savings. Yes, we have immediate transportation needs—which is why the House has dedicated a significant portion of the state surplus to addressing those needs now. That also gives time for the other reforms to be instituted, lowering costs and making sure our tax dollars are invested wisely in future projects.

Pouring long-term money into a broken machine does not make sense. Fixing the problems, and then investing wisely in future projects makes far greater sense, both now and into the future. Now that’s a “better way.”



  • Two other factors to consider when debating the urgency of our needs. If we raise taxes, it will take time for that money to flow into state coffers. Perhaps as long as it would to achieve savings from reforms like privatizing maintenance.

    The private sector literally has billions on hand to invest - if we invite them in (see concessions bill). They can muster the capital much faster than any tax scheme. In addition, they have a proven track record to get projects built upwards of 30% faster when their capital is on the line. That will have the greatest immediate impact and/or change in our transportation system.

    By Blogger gfsegal, at 2/21/2006 4:48 PM  

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