Wednesday, January 18, 2006

No More Business As Usual in Virginia...

The Washington Post is touting Gov. Tim Kaine's new strategy for strengthening the hand of local governments to stave off uncontrolled development and sprawl.

As more and more houses extend outward of 100 miles from Washington, many Northern Virginians are frustrated by the long commute; they feel builders clumped a bunch of housing without appropriate planning for roads.

In a December 14, 2005 article, the Washington Post reported that "local governments [were] afraid to stop growth based on traffic projections because the courts have given conflicting rulings on whether they ha[d] that authority."

During the campaign, Kaine promised voters if elected he would seek a bill that spells out local government's authority to tie road transportation to land use and growth; and to keep his campaign promise, Kaine is now "proposing that localities be empowered to reject rezoning requests that would overwhelm roads."

Adding to the traffic problem, the Post notes builders have often used "voluntary proffers...such as a new intersection or land for a new school [that] ha[s] become de facto bribes for a rezoning approval" from county governments.

Transportation was a key issue that helped swing Prince William and Loudoun Counties to the Kaine win column. Kaine carried both jurisdictions approximately 35 miles south of the nation's capital, which in '00 and '04 Bush handily won.

For a run-down of Kaine's agenda, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a convenient link to his speech to the State Assembly on Monday.

[Hat tip to Road to Ruin, a great Virginia blog dealing with transporation issues.]

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