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Road jam drives us to misery page 3
We have no one to blame but ourselves, and developers and elected officials, for our worsening traffic woes

RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 9/19/2004

By RICHARD AMRHINE

continued

Third, nothing happens if local and VDOT officials fail to cooperate--not that there would be any money to spend if they did. The tax increases approved for this year by the governor and General Assembly produced a budget that actually cut the allocation for the state's six-year transportation-plan funding by $1.23 billion, including more than $20 million in the Fredericksburg district.

Instead of money, we get childish exchanges between local and state officials--"It's my way or no high-way"--and little constructive dialog about what it will take to get the roads we really need.

As I write this, a group of Republican lawmakers in Northern Virginia has announced a $5 billion, 20-year transportation program and wants first dibs on the surplus millions that last session's tax increases are expected to provide. So does everyone else. But there's no solid idea for where the bulk of the money might come from or any project priority list. They have no real answers, but thank goodness they have a plan.

The Fredericksburg area has much to offer both residents and visitors. Most residents will put up with the frustration and inconvenience of sitting in traffic because they have no immediate alternative. Visitors, on the other hand, take the horror story home with them and tell their friends, who tell their friends.

Having tourists stay away is one way too help relieve traffic congestion, but probably not the smartest way.

RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.


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