TDX Progress Stifled in Richmond - TransDominion Express


TDX Progress Stifled in Richmond

We all realize that “you” are not the only constituent to whom your representative must answer. We are all constituents and we don’t always agree with each other. So, we must be fair to these folks we have elected and recognize that they have a difficult task, at best.

Even so, it should not be a difficult choice to make between support of party leadership (whichever party it might be in any given season) and support of initiatives to enhance the economic development and quality of life for his or her constituents and for the Commonwealth as a whole.

Last year a number of delegates chose party leadership over immediate needs and planning for future critical needs of their constituents. Might committee seats and chairmanships have been at risk? Hmmm…, there’s a cogent question. To lose a seat of power and be relegated to a lesser position could reasonably cost a region its legislative sway. But, to be voted out of office for failing to fight for the constituents might be a larger failure.

When does the electorate win? Does it feel secure that its representatives have seniority, even when they respond like “sheeple” in order to keep their seats? Or might it be better to temporarily lose some seniority and reinfuse the passion to represent the real needs of the people?

These are questions we must each weigh. But, while we’re weighing them, keep in mind that it was party leadership in the House that prevented the many transportation issues from being included in a viable budget, that set back long-range planning for initiatives reaching far beyond transportation, some for perpetuity. Transportation does not exist in a vacuum any more than education does. These core services impact every other facet of our personal, business, municipal, state, and national health.

Were we served last year? Yes. TDX was served up as a sacrificial meal. But, we were not alone.

“Today” is the result of the decisions made and not made in the past. “Tomorrow” critically depends on the actions we take today. And those actions are shaped by our attitudes, vision, and willingness to risk. It might be nice to remind our legislators and administrators that a failure to make a decision is, in itself, a decision to fail.

TransDominion Express leadership and supporters are not involved in partisan politics. In fact, we are witnessing the harm created by extreme partisanship. We would ask the people of Virginia to carefully examine the critical transportation funding needs while looking at our future through the lens of current policy; then shifting the focus through a visionary and practical lens to actively plan for a better outcome.

The bottom line is that we need a level of dedicated transportation funding that allows for planning well into the future. Experience has shown us that transportation projects, to be effective, should consider 20-years out to be short-range. Looking for return on investment and profit generation must not be tied to fare box or toll booth returns, but to the enhanced business income, lifestyle, and taxes generated as a result.

The TDX is far more about environmentally responsible economic development than transportation. But, the transportation element cannot be ignored. Part of enhanced transportation funding must include a much larger percentage for rail initiatives as a solution of the future.

Despite hardships related to unresolved tensions in the 2006 General Assembly, in the 2007 session, TDX will have two bills whose passage will determine our ability to move forward. One will amend the 30% matching requirement for the Rail Enhancement Fund. The other is a second run at creating a TDX Authority or Commission.

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