Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Is the region going to fight over VRE?

Dear Spotsylvania County Administrators and Supervisors, 


Stafford County supervisors aren’t going to take it anymore—at least four of them, and that’s all it takes. Spotsylvania County, you will be getting a bill in the mail for $295,060 from your neighbors in Stafford. The pressure is on. Regionalism might go out the door. This might get real nasty.


Why? Because for almost two decades, Spotsylvania supervisors have batted around the idea of joining, and not joining, the Virginia Railway Express, and yet you’ve become one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. Fredericksburg and Stafford governments joined the rail service, and they’ve expressed their frustration with subsidizing Spotsylvania riders. VRE says 800-1,000 Spotsylvania residents ride the trains from Stafford and city lots—others beg VRE to prove those numbers are accurate.

But it does not matter right now, because according to Stafford Supervisor Joe Britto, "We need to start taking bold action on this. We need to force a vote." Stafford is no longer making millions from the 2 percent gas tax required to partner with VRE. They are now dipping into the reserves to pay its VRE bill. That’s never happened before. Supervisor Paul Milde says it’s because the country is in a recession. But four supervisors in Stafford believe it is because Spotsylvania, and three other counties, are not sharing the bill. 


Not only is Stafford going to send Spotsylvania a bill, the supervisors will also bill Fauquier County, King George County and Caroline County.

Supervisor Gary Skinner was taken aback by the news today when I called him. He said he is working hard at getting the four votes needed for Spotsylvania to join VRE and Stafford "jumped the gun."

According to Skinner, the county is not paying that bill. According to the law, I am not even sure the bill is legal. Skinner has asked his neighbors to be patient. A vote is expected to happen before the summer.

But won’t the vote be 4-3 against joining VRE? Or does Mr. Skinner have something up his sleeve?


Post tags:


  • jaeshuan

    $10 per vehicle per day. I sincerely doubt any spotsy residents walk to the vre.

  • vegtblelasagna

    Why on earth would you be speaking for the supervisors future vote and saying Mr. Skinner has something up his sleeve? That is a crude and arrogant statement. Mind your manners have some faith that the BOS will do the right thing, but don’t be rude about it Paperguy.

  • dantelvock

    I am just asking you a question. I did not make a statement.

    Would you care to answer the questions? By the way, I love veggie lasagna.

  • navyorchid

    I don’t remember seeing a sign anywhere at the VRE station that states only those individuals who live in counties that subsidize the VRE can purchase tickets to ride the VRE???? Is Stafford county being forced to subsidize the VRE so its residents can ride it or did they have the same choice that Spotsylvania had??

  • f4td4ddy

    I live in Spotsylvania county, but sometimes buy gas in Stafford county, and sometimes buy things in Fredericksburg’s Central Park. I suspect that Fredericksburg residents sometimes spend money in Stafford and Spotsylvania as well. Stuff like this bill from Stafford to Spotsy might encourage me to shift my spending habits so as to keep all my money away from the masterminds behind petty actions like this.

    But I will always find time to stop in Stafford county on my way home for a rest stop to use a couple gallons of their water there for free…

  • rikkirat

    I sure hope that the Stafford BOC is joking about sending bills out. We have a lot more serious problems to resolve in this county than silly p***ing battles over something like this. If Stafford county is upset about being treated unfairly about subsidizing VRE (and I as a taxpayer and VRE rider AM!) then pull ALL subsidy funding out of VRE and let the Stafford County VRE riders freeload off of the other participating locations like Spotsy and other counties are currently doing. I personally think we have better things to spend our tax money on than the boondoggle called VRE.

  • vegtblelasagna

    Sure, I’ll answer. Certainly not. Mr. Skinner isn’t going doing anything “sneaky” because that is how you make it sound. If anything, that man lets everyone know his opinion about any issues. It wouldn’t matter if Im pro or con VRE for Spotsy, it is just the way you said it is the problem these days with journalists….sounds like you’re trying to put an image out there of this figure being sneaky or something “up his sleeve.” I like veg lasagna too…thanks

  • dantelvock

    VegL, when I talk to Mr. Skinner he leaves me to believe that there is something he is working on and he won’t tell me what it is. So, hence the comment “Does he have something up his sleeve?”

    He made a comment to me recently that made my ears perk but I have not been able to nail down what he was talking about.

    Mr. Skinner and I have spoken about this many times and I doubt he took offense to me asking readers to debate how he plans to convince at least one other member that VRE is good for the county.

    I certainly didn’t make an opinion or judgment. We’ll see what happens.

  • MrWonderful

    We ain’t paying.

  • Minuteman

    Thanks for the incisive, erudite comment Mr.
    Wonderful. It reflects the sentiments of dozens
    of people in this County. Good contribution.

  • runnwlf

    Well now that’s unique. I don’t think I”ve ever heard of one county billing another to help make up it’s budget shortfall.

    Get a grip Stafford. This is not the way to make Spotsy join VRE. Do you want to try and force Caroline, KG and Fauqier to join too?