During the 2020 session, the General Assembly passed HB 1726/SB 1038, that “dedicates $20 million of revenues from existing recordation taxes” to fund Hampton Roads’ new Regional Transit Fund. But that left Stafford with an unexpected $867,465 hole in its transportation budget, forcing it to delay or cancel some upcoming projects - including safety improvements required under Helen's Law.
The Democrats may have a problem. They only have a five-seat majority in the House. One of the seats considered close, and one that went Democrat in 2019, is Fredericksburg’s and Stafford’s 28th District currently held by Del. Josh Cole. The magic number is six. If the GOP takes back six seats, it’s their House of Delegates. The average margin of victory in the top six closest seats Democrats won in 2019 was 2.69 percent. That’s tight.
The essence of local control is that residents of a particular jurisdiction should be able, through their elected representatives, to decide what public art is displayed. That means that residents do not have to be bound by the choices of past generations. But it also means that contemporary choices will also be subject to the same standard in the future, so memorials erected today may wind up being torn down tomorrow. Nihil durat in aeternum. (“Nothing lasts forever.”)
Inserting a consensus proposal (a regional transportation authority) to deal with a long-standing and intractable problem (lack of adequate transportation funding in Fredericksburg) into the legislative maw and grinding it into a “solution” that nobody wants or needs is Richmond-style sausage-making at its worst.
The Fredericksburg region’s overburdened transportation system will soon be overwhelmed by traffic generated by residential and commercial projects already in the development pipeline. A regional transportation authority would help build projects that have little chance of getting built otherwise.