Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Regional transit requires regional participation

So says the Fredericksburg Freelance-Star, in "County's inaction costs its neighbors: Spotsylvania supervisors' indecisiveness on Virginia Railway Express has negative impact on county's neighbors."

From the article:

In the more than two decades that Spotsylvania County supervisors have debated joining Virginia Railway Express, their indecisiveness has had a negative effect on their neighbors. Matt Kelly, a Fredericksburg city councilman who serves on the VRE Operations Board, sent an e-mail to Spotsylvania Supervisor Jerry Logan in an attempt to persuade him to vote in favor of joining VRE.

Kelly told Logan that one of the reasons Stafford County and Fredericksburg are having financial challenges in funding their shares of the VRE subsidy is because of the estimated 1,000 Spotsylvania riders who take VRE trains. "I've yet to hear a member of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors acknowledge these, and other impacts, Spotsylvania residents are having on our communities," Kelly wrote.

Area localities use a 2 percent gasoline sales tax to pay their share of VRE and administrative fees for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, a regional agency that oversees commuter rail. The remainder of the tax revenue can be used for other transportation projects.

For the first time in Stafford's partnership with VRE, county leaders are seeing gas-tax revenue decline to a point where it no longer covers all the costs of the VRE subsidy and PRTC fees. "Jerry [Logan] needs to understand that the reason Stafford is having this problem is because Spotsylvania has not got off their you-know-what and joined VRE," Kelly said during an interview.

Of course, in economics, this is called the problem of the free rider.

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