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Sunday, September 09, 2012

George Allen To Bob McDonnell:

Hey, dude.  Stick those toll booths in Alexandria, why don't you?

What is it with northern Virginians that they always want to put things they want - but don't want - somewhere other than in their neighborhood?

Southwest Virginia?  We're ... blessed ... with the many prisons that northern Virginians know we need but would rather die than be living near.

Power plants?  They're big on electricity.  But not big on those unsightly and smelly facilities that are required to generate fuel for their Chevy Volts.

And then there are toll booths.

Where are Virginia's road problems?  Northern Virginia.

Where does Governor Bob McDonnell propose to erect toll booths on the interstate to pay for northern Virginia's road fix?

Southern Virginia.

A proposal to which Senate candidate George Allen asks - in so many words - is this a joke?
Allen breaks with McDonnell on I-95 tolls
By Michael Sluss, Roanoke Times

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proposal to collect tolls on Interstate 95 near the North Carolina border has another prominent Republican opponent — former governor and U.S. Senate candidate George Allen.

Allen issued a statement this afternoon announcing his opposition to the tolling proposal, saying it could be an economic drag and hurt commuters already saddled with high fuel prices.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking federal approval to impose tolls at a collection point north of Emporia. Passenger cars would pay $4 and heavy trucks would pay $12. The proceeds would pay for upgrades and expansion projects along the heavily traveled interstate.

“I commend Governor McDonnell for putting together a comprehensive transportation plan that invests in our infrastructure, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Tim Kaine, who shut down rest areas,” Allen said. “Tolls at times may be appropriate for new construction when paid for by those who would use the road. However, I do not support the proposal to install tolls on the southern stretch of I-95. Southern Virginia already faces significant economic challenges and these tolls could disadvantage job-creating businesses in the region, and the hardworking Virginia families already suffering from skyrocketing fuel costs.” [link]
Anyone who thinks toll booths don't stifle economic activity should live in Ghent, West Virginia for a time.  Your kid is looking for a part-time summer job?  Excepting Beckley, his only chance for employment is up in Charleston.  Tolls for an each-day round trip?  Twelve bucks.  For an eight-dollar-an-hour job?  Do the math.  And realize why young people in southern West Virginia don't work in Charleston.  Or stay in southern West Virginia.

Interstate toll roads, to the narrow minded, are a sweet deal.  They make for a great tax collecting mechanism that soaks outsiders.  And that's the best kind of tax.

Unfortunately, they also ravage local economies.

Not to mention they're a pain in the ass.

And the best way to turn an expressway into one big roadblock after another.

Anyway.  You folks up in northern Virginia - including our fine governor - want road blocks erected on our interstate highways so as to collect tax money to pay for your road repairs?  I've got the perfect location:

Keep the first one on I-95.  But put it at exit 1 in Alexandria.

And see how long that lasts.