MPO’s Weighted Votes; Good or Bad

8 12 2008

Re: Weighted votes could change cities’ say in road projects (Virginian-Pilot. Dec. 8, 2008)

While I can see the value of this in a rational setting, I still hold an objection. The purpose of the weighting, which I understand, is to give cities an equal footing in votes. There is no reason why Isle of Wight (no offense) should get the same weight as Virginia Beach. VB is much larger and has many more problems than a county such of IoW. I find fault in the system, however, when the city with the most power is as anti-regionalism as VB. I think that the number of daily workers should be included as well. Norfolk has an estimated 235,000 residents. Virginia beach has an estimated 435,000 residents. Once you account for the inflow of over 100,000 workers to Norfolk and an outflow of approximately 100,000 workers from Virginia Beach to Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth, the ‘power’ factor of each city is about the same. The MPO can use a weighted system as long as Virginia Beach does not simply vote down anything that would not benefit them directly. We have seen them act this selfishly in the past. Take their push for a Southeastern Parkway over any form of HR crossing plans. Or their repeatedly voting no on their Light Rail referendums. Unless Virginia Beach has had a miraculous change of heart, they seem to be in it only for themselves, not realizing that they will die without the rest of the region. Finally, each city currently pays an equal share for the MPO. If they will no longer be equal in votes, then they payment structure should be changed, causing each city to pay in proportion with its votes.
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