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Is the Fredericksburg area now in Northern Virginia? "Twixt and Tween," Hap Connors

Date published: 5/11/2008

IN SPORTS, a "tweener" is defined as "an athlete, who does not possess enough size for one position, or who plays both positions equally well."

When trying to place the Fredericksburg area geographically, maybe we are a "tweener"--growing and prosperous, but not yet "possess[ing] enough size" to be included in Northern Virginia. However, we are the fourth largest region in the commonwealth. So, I think we will eventually stake our claim as a region.

Meanwhile, maybe we can be that player who can play both positions well. Instead of worrying about the position we want to play, we should look at opportunities for building alliances with regions that share common concerns.

Take traffic congestion--a troublesome issue we share with Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Why not join forces with those regions to lobby our General Assembly? Combined, those two regions have 48 delegates (out of 100) and 20 senators (out of 40). Add to them our delegation, and we'd have 53 delegates and 23 senators, a majority in both houses.

So, let our new majority--our bigger team--begin the conversation by redressing the 22-year-old transportation funding formula, which today gives more money per capita to the Bristol region than to ours. Some say that changing the formula won't solve the problem. However, if this super-regional majority of the General Assembly stands together to advance this conversation, it would certainly force representatives in Southside and Southwest Virginia, who often scoff at our traffic problems, to pay attention.

We'll continue to grow and get strong. But, let's not worry too much about the position we want to play. Instead, let's learn to play smart and well with others so we can grow our team and leverage our strengths.

Hap Connors represents the Chancellor District on the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors.