A Virginia state senator wants to drum up support for his
plan to revive transportation funding in the state.
Sen. John Chichester, R-Fredericksburg, who led this year’s
campaign to increase spending on Virginia’s traffic problems, is calling on
politicians and the public to rally behind new efforts to fund roadwork.
Chichester, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, spoke
in Tysons Corner, VA, Sept. 30 about the need for greater investment, increased
coordination with developers on land-use decisions and more creativity in
During the 2004 General Assembly session, Chichester
proposed raising an assortment of fees to increase transportation funding by
$800 million a year, but the plan was dropped.
The Republican told The Washington Post he
would favor raising a range of “user fees” during the legislative session that
begins in January to generate revenue for road and rail projects. But he
declined to say whether he would push a plan as ambitious as his previous one.
He also called for developers to bear more of the burden for
road costs and perhaps maintain roads in new subdivisions for five years or
more after they are built. Those roads now are turned over to the Virginia
Transportation Department after one year and contribute to the agency’s rising
maintenance costs, he said.
Chichester is one of several officials pursuing ways to
solve the state’s transportation problems. House Speaker William Howell,
R-Fredericksburg, has appointed a committee of Republican delegates to come up
with ideas. Gov. Mark Warner has said he is developing a plan, and others want
to raise fuel taxes to fund projects.