Why Fight Light Rail?

10 10 2009

I ask again, why fight light rail? Especially if you are part of the Virginia Beach Taxpayers’ Alliance. For a group that doesn’t want to pay more taxes, they sure are fighting strong against something that would potentially bring increased revenue without increased taxes. In fact, Virginia Beach is already benefiting from light rail. If you hadn’t heard, they are planning a high density development on their side of Newtown Road and plan on promoting its position near the light rail.

Norfolk is only spending less than $100 million on the Tide. That is one of the lowest amounts in the country for a new light rail start up. Virginia Beach could have been in on it, but people like the VBTA fought the deal. Light Rail is coming to Virginia Beach. The questions are only when and how much will the VBTA cost the taxpayers in inflation? Since construction began, Norfolk has see construction begin on the Fort Norfolk development, the Belmont at Freemason, Wachovia Center, and the Residence Inn. Not bad for a recession. In contrast, how many are planned for Town Center? I couldn’t find but maybe one. They have another phase that’s supposed to start soon. It will likely take a large infusion of taxpayer dollars, which may not exist with their new found budget shortfall. Good luck with that.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. As energy prices rise, people are going to be looking to move closer to their jobs. The suburban model of growth (i.e. VA Beach) cannot continue to pay for 12 lane highways and hour long daily commutes. The VBTA continually asserts that Light Rail is a waste of money that cannot pay for itself. What is the alternative? The Southeastern Parkway? A highway that costs more per mile than Light Rail and shaves less than a minute off your commute? When Light Rail gets old, you but a new car for $7 million. Virginia Beach is set to spend $45 million this fiscal year just for widening and maintaining its current roadways. How is that more fiscally responsible? Would it not stand to reason that expanding mass transit and decreasing the reliance on personal vehicles would save the city $ million per year?

Despite their outward appearance, the VBTA is not against wasteful city spending, but rather against progress in general, unless of course it directly benefits their members. Their website gives no membership numbers, but I would venture to guess that they have nowhere near the numbers to support their name. They are not representative of the taxpayers of Virginia Beach. Their website has not been updated in nearly 2 years. They have no mission statement. Their last posted issue is from June of 2007.

If you live in Virginia Beach and somebody comes up to you asking to sign a petition to support a referendum, tell them, “No. I elected my representatives to be leaders. I support progress and responsible growth. I support Light Rail.”




3 responses

10 10 2009


11 10 2009

Very much looking forward to the Norfolk light rail. Indeed, I wish it covered more of the city. Once it opens up I’ll probably take the light rail whenever a trip to the mall is needed.

11 10 2009

plus the VBTA are fanatics. they have to call the police almost everytime they make an appearance. are they paid by the city? if they are then that would be a budget cut worth taking.

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