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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Should VRE go to referendum by itself?

In 2005, a majority of Spotsylvania voters passed a $144 million bond referendum that included $12 million for a VRE station. That referendum contained a list of roads to repair and the VRE station.

Since then, some road projects have been priced and although work has been delayed, the projects are ongoing. But no progress has been made on VRE. 

I wrote this story and got numerous calls about it. One caller was pretty angry that only Chamber members could vote. He said the results would be tainted by members outside Spotsylvania voting in favor of the county joining VRE, and he doesn’t want someone who doesn’t live here telling the county in which he lives to spend money on a service that about 1,000 residents use.

Fair enough. But then he said Spotsylvania residents never had a chance to vote on the VRE issue. I explained to him that the 2005 bond referendum included the $12 million for a VRE station. He argued that the referendum included numerous projects that will never be finished with the bond money. He also said some people who voted for the bond may have just wanted the roads fixed, and not VRE. He said they could have voted in favor of the referendum anyway just to start some of the road projects. We’ll never know if that is the case but he assured me that he voted against the referendum. b

His solution to the VRE debate? Have a bond question that simply asks: Should Sposylvania County join Virginia Railway Express? Nothing more. Nothing less.

I’ve seen localities split bond questions so various projects are not on the same referendum.  

Thoughts? 

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Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/spotsygovt/2008/12/15/should-vre-go-to-referendum-by-itself/

  • gramps

    on this issue. It is perhaps the only way to get it off the table. The voters will either agree or not. However, in the event the voters decide they want Spotsy to join VRE, I predict you will then still hear from the dissenters about the fact that only the “newcomers” want it and how unfair it is to the “live and work” locals. VRE is a “hot-button” issue just like the “hunting with dogs” issue.

  • lgross

    I AGREE! In fact, I’d like to see in Virginia, the
    citizen right to initiate referenda..

    Make it a limited right. Set the bar high – 20% of
    current voters to push something onto a ballot.

    But get it out of the hands of the politicians and
    let the citizens decide the issue.

    Having said that – I do understand the
    opposition. We have folks who have chosen to
    NOT commute to higher paying jobs and instead
    take lower salaries to work locally and they are
    being asked to devote some of their lower
    salaries, in essence, to subsidize someone who
    wants a higher salary.

    I have no problem with pursuing the higher
    salary but part of that responsibility includes
    paying for your commute out of that higher
    salary.

    Failing that – there needs to be a “win-win” type
    proposition for both commuters and non-
    commuters.

  • lgross

    this is one of those issues that can be fairly
    called a “wedge” issue.

    The basic proposition pretty much creates two
    alignments of pro and con – somewhat based on
    demographics with respect to how long someone
    has lived here – and if they commute to a NoVa
    job – or not.

    I don’t know if it is possible but a proposal that
    would tend to unite people would be much
    preferred to one that either creates or worsens a
    festering resentment – on either side.

    We did it once before with the Chancellorsville
    Compromise – one that was not entirely
    satisfying to everyone – but one that achieved a
    resolution without leaving a festering sore IMHO.

    so .. we need …some good old fashioned
    leadership… here…

  • thatguyb

    For years, tax money has subsidized roadways, now we’re seeing a transition to also subsidizing smart transportation. Spotsy plays the region card whenever it benefits them, to name one recently, the request for the City to condem city property to improve transport to the mall and into Spotsy county through the harrison rd connector and rt 3. What do city residents get out of this nothing, wait, improving mall traffic means we loose money from people shopping in the city. So we loose money to help spotsy to benefit the region. Time to stop thinking selfishly about only spotsy residents, and what does or doesn’t affect them. Join VRE and stop freeloading on others good will.

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