Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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VRE Vote In January?

Hap Connors had his community meeting last night and said that the Board of Supervisors will likely take a vote in January on joining Virginia Railway Express. Connors and supervisors Benjamin Pitts and Gary Skinner support the county joining VRE. But where is that fourth vote coming from?

Emmitt Marshall and T.C. Waddy are not going to vote to join VRE. That leaves Gary Jackson and Jerry Logan as the swing vote. The last time I interviewed Jackson he said he hasn’t seen any new information that would change his mind.

Logan may be the true swing vote on this, and being that gas prices have dropped by about $2 and the fact that there is excess revenue from the 2 percent gasoline levy that the county can use for transportation projects, 2009 might be the year that Logan, a Republican, votes yes on VRE.


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  • lgross

    There was an agreement that the extra money
    that Spotsylvania got to keep from the 2% gas
    tax – would be used to accelerate the paving of
    the unpaved roads in Livingston and Berkeley?

    oh what the heck.. let’s throw in the 3 acre
    subdivision rule…

    would THAT be enough to get Waddy and
    Marshall to vote in favor?

    Yes.. I know .. I’m saying something so
    blasphemous that it borders on inciting rioting!

    Seriously – it took a brokered compromise for the
    Dogwood/Chancellorsville decision…

    why not.. at the least.. EXPLORE possible

    there may also be some “inside baseball” going
    on here… out of the view of the public….

    yeah.. I know.. that kind of stuff NEVER happens

  • dantelvock

    Give up, Larry. That idea was proposed several times, and the two rural supervisors aren’t buying.

  • lgross

    yup.. you’re probably right.

    I know some folks that ride VRE .. and it’s got
    problems… operational and fiscal.. and in the
    end may not matter what Spotsylvania does

  • lgross

    Dan – do you mean that Marshall and Waddy
    won’t do some good old fashioned political

    I think they do… and I think they do have a
    price but it may be too high for the others. (like
    the 3 acre deal).

    Mr. Jackson is IMHO seems much less prone
    towards things that violate his core principles.

    Mr. Logan … strikes me as a bit more pragmatic
    but no lover of subsidies or government
    spending per se …either.

    But Mr. Marshall, especially… is a horse trader
    and compromises..if he can get his price.

    OR.. another approach worth considering IMHO..
    is put it on a referendum and do it with the
    proviso that after the referendum that the issue
    will not be revisited for a while.

  • gramps

    all the arguments pro and con on the Spotsy/VRE issue. It was even “on the ballot” as part of the “transportation” bond referendum and passed implicitly. However, VRE still remains a very “hot button” issue to many of our neighbors. As such, I really have a hard time seeing VRE getting a thumbs up from the BOS.

  • lgross

    I think you are probably right Gramps.

    But I wonder how many folks
    recognize that we are already
    subsidizing commuting.. carpool lots
    and insurance for vans and buses.

    If we could put those two subsidies to
    a vote – would they meet the same
    fate as a VRE subsidy?

    We’ve got a bit of a war going on in
    spotsy between the “come-heres”
    vision for the county – and the
    generational residents.

    Most of the generational folks don’t
    commute.. they live and work locally
    for much lower salaries and take a dim
    view of being taxed to provide
    subsidies so folks can commute to
    higher salaries.. especially why the
    rural roads that generational folks use
    - are not fixed.

    My view is that unless we work to a
    compromise..the issue eventually will
    be decided by demographic numbers
    with winner and losers.. vice win-win

  • gramps

    I came to this area in 1961. I was in the military stationed at Fort Belvoir. Back then there were two bus loads of civilians that commuted from the Fredericksburg area to FT B. I knew a number of those folks and they were not “come heres.” They were generational folks that needed a job. Over the subsequent years, prior to the time when folks started migrating south to live, that bus service grew from 2 to several in number and served the Pentagon and other NOVA locations. It was operated by a fellow named Lewis Howard. BTW those folks nor Lewis were subsidized from the public cash register.

  • lgross

    me too.. and yes.. some local folks took jobs
    “up the road”.. but they often rode buses and
    paid unsubsidized fares …

    whether one is a “come-here” or a generational
    resident… the question is.. if someone is
    commuting for a higher paying job than they
    could get locally… why should they be subsidized
    ..especially by those who do not commute and
    …earn much less money?

    I’m not opposed to VRE… per se …but as per
    my usual practice – I try to understand the
    opposition… and there is a principle here…

    What I had suggested was a compromise where
    the folks who live and work locally … or even if
    they don’t. they don’t earn high salaries… that if
    we are going to ask them to pay higher taxes
    …to subsidize others – that there be something
    in it for them also.

    we need to remember -

  • lgross

    we have many folks – deputies, teachers,
    medical technologists, plumbers, a HOST of
    people who work hard 40 hours a week to make
    a living – locally – without commuting – and they
    earn less …and they have trouble finding
    affordable housing …because the price of
    housing has been driven up by demand from
    those who commute for higher salaries.

    At the same time – we have some of those same
    folks .. advocating.. limiting rural residential –
    which is where a lot of local workers have to go
    look for affordable housing.. since they cannot
    afford to live in the subdivisions that commuters
    can afford.

    What I am saying.. is to look at both sides of
    the issue .. understand both sides.. and see if a
    compromise is possible.

    the current process does not lead to an amicable
    resolution IMHO.

  • gramps

    The unfortunate truth may be that there is not now an amicable solution. Life and it’s inevitable progress in an urban setting, “bordering” on a huge metropolitan area, is not always “fair.” Having said this, our elected leaders could probably have done a better job of it. But, we ought to remember that the uncontrolled growth here in Spotsy started quite a while ago and at the time many residents felt that the progress was good for the area.

  • lgross

    I agree but I also think at the least that a fair
    attempt at a compromise is worthwhile.

    Folks can vote it down.. and then afterwards.. we
    all know that we tried .. and people rejected it.

    Don’t you think it a bit ironic.. that it is the folks
    who constitute the new growth that now want to
    restrict growth – and do it in such a way that it
    actually causes harm to the folks who either live
    and work local.. or.. as you said earlier ..took a
    bus.. but paid a non-subsidized fare and did not
    expect the folks that did not ride the bus to pay
    their fares?

    That’s what I mean when I saw – seek a “fair”

    When your essential bargain is to tax a deputy
    to pay for a commuter to a job..making 3 times
    as much money – at the same time the deputy
    goes home on an unpaved road…. it’s a no go.

  • gramps

    Yes, I understand your approach to some “fair” compromise. However, I do not agree that the newcomers are the only folks wanting to restrict growth in Spotsy. It seems to me that plenty of “old timers” are thinking that it is time to restrict growth; if for no other reason than to stop the migration of “outsiders” to the county.

  • gramps

    I also do not understand the “harm,” to those that live and work locally, issue. I presume you are talking about VRE; the fact that the locals will see an added tax on their gasoline costs. Am I mistaken that the county as a whole will reap new revenue from part of that tax money returned to the Spotsy coffers? That money could be used to pave the deputy’s road. Sounds like a “win–win” to me. Don’t forget that the commuter will also pay that tax increase, as will all those interstate travelers.

  • arsspots1