One Dirty Word, One Dirty Transportation Plan

(Warning: contains the F-word. A lot.)

There’s been some apparent fracas about Bob McDonnell (the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, if anyone’s forgotten) telling WTOP (a fairly credible Washington area news radio station) that he’s “identified twelve fucking funding mechanisms” for Virginia’s perpetually-imperiled transportation priorities.

Now, I’m not sure if this is apparent from the previous post, but I’m not exactly shocked that people use the f-word any more than I am by the act that it represents. (This isn’t to trivialize the idea of offense itself; I’ve noticed many people like to do that, but I think public outrage has intrinsic value in situations that appear to require it.) Frankly, I’m more amused that McDo lost his temper than that he used a word the FCC thinks is naughty.

It’s not even really inappropriate in context, if we consider the second definition of “fuck”: to take advantage of, betray, or cheat; to treat unfairly or harshly; to act wastefully or foolishly; to victimize. So in this sense, I think would be an interesting exercise to order McDo’s “funding mechanisms” in order of presentation and who or what they fuck:

Funding Source Fucked Party
Expedite Approved Bonds
(by 2010)
General fund; creditors; state credit rating
Congestion Relief Bonds
(by 2010)
Localities and/or Commonwealth within 10 years
Dedicate Percentage of New Revenue Growth over 3% (minimum 1%) General Fund (i.e. schools)
75% of Surplus Unclear (surplus is entirely hypothetical construct)
Privatization of Alcoholic
Beverage Control
Alcoholics; restaurants; Social drinkers
Offshore Drilling The fishing industry, tourism, Naval mission security, ultimately everyone generally (viz. peak oil and/or climate change)
Ports privatization Longshoremen, Hampton Roads generally, ultimately anyone not connected to Dubai Ports World
Interstate Border Tolling Relationship with North Carolina; ultimately anyone driving or riding into or out of the state
.3% of NoVA Sales Tax Northern Virginia indigents paying regressive tax; commuters funding downstate pet projects
Public-Private Partnerships The commonwealth, in the event of any overruns on the part of Cintra, Macquarie, or other foreign concessionaires
2nd- and 3rd-year stimulus money Any entity depending on an entirely hypothetical stimulus package renewal

This is to say nothing of what McDo’s “transportation priorities” and “public-private partnerships” entail, which would mean the continuation of private Beltway HOT lanes, the utterly redundant “Third Crossing” and the Southeast Sprawlway, most of which fuck transit commuters, the state General Fund and anyone not connected to the corporate interests that fund his campaign and would own most of Virginia’s major infrastructure if this “blueprint” were to move forward.

Between this and McDo’s social manifesto – the one that he provided to the Washington Post himself – it’s likely that all Creigh Deeds, his challenger, needs to do is watch McDonnell’s campaign implode. But there’s some truth to McDo’s charge that Deeds has no particular transportation plan – if only because Deeds’ land use and transportation plan starts on page 10 of his economic plan.

Nevertheless, let me not be one to offer criticism without alternatives. I like Deeds’ basic ideas, but if it were up to me, I’d fund those with a carbon tax. Of course, you can’t say “carbon tax” if even “cap and trade” is unacceptable, but all of the constituent components – a fuel tax increase, VMT metering, and congestion pricing – might be doable. But a lot of this depends on who ends up, well, fucked in November.

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~ by J.D. Hammond on September 15, 2009.

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