Monday, April 01, 2013

Richmond Times-Dispatch: McDonnell right on transportation bill

Today's editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch assures that Governor Bob McDonnell was correct with the 2013 transportation bill:
Gov. Bob McDonnell has drawn the wrath of conservatives for his transportation tax package, which qualifies as one of the biggest tax hikes in the past few decades. Grover Norquist, Erick Erickson, Jamie Radtke and other movement conservatives all have raked McDonnell over the coals. But those critics fail to take into account the costs of not raising new road revenue.

By that, we don’t mean to imply the standard liberal defense for big-government spending: that it will somehow – miraculously – pay for itself, or produce economic growth, or save even more money later on. (For that kind of frothy blather, see President Barack Obama’s remarks about pre-kindergarten.)

No, when it comes to infrastructure, there is a much more straightforward equation. Just look at what happened in Richmond’s Battery Park seven years ago. The city had failed to maintain a sewer line, and when Tropical Storm Ernesto blew into town, the line collapsed – leading to flooding that ruined homes and buildings, sent raw sewage coursing through the streets and forced the evacuation of 72 families. Restoration took three years – and tens of millions of dollars.

It’s the same with roads. When the roads aren’t maintained, they deteriorate, and eventually need wholesale reconstruction. In the meantime, potholes and patching cause other problems. By one estimate, the typical motorist in Richmond pays an extra $343 per year on car repairs and additional fuel consumption because the roads are in such bad shape. If you drive 10,000 miles per year and get 25 miles to the gallon, that’s the equivalent of an 85-cent-per-gallon hike in the gasoline tax.

True story: The other day on the Powhite Parkway, a member of the Editorial Page staff hit a pothole the approximate size of Rhode Island. Miraculously, the tire didn’t blow, but his little 4-cylinder suffered damage to its internal organs. The repairs took four hours out of his day – and $461.21 out of his pocket.

He is still waiting for Grover Norquist to write him a check.
Just had a discussion with my step-dad about the roads of yesteryear that were dirt and red clay and turned as slick as axle grease when it rained or snowed. Want to go back to those days? No, thanks....

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