If you're an undecided voter; you'd better vote NO on 22% sales tax hike referendum


The Virginian Pilot reported that, according to its poll, the undecided voters may determine the fate of the transportation referendum. The question will be under the caption "Eastern Virginia Sales and Use Tax". .
By law, the referendum increases the sales and use tax one percent in Hampton Roads to help fund a transportation plan for six new projects developed by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC). Under the law, the HRPDC is empowered to issue $6.9 billion in bonds for the projects and with the assistance of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), manage the projects. According to local legislators, the referendum was necessary because enough state and federal funds were rot available for all six projects.

I urge every qualified citizen to show up at the polls on November 5th and cast a resounding NO vote on the sales and use tax increase. My reason is the entire concept is simply wrong.

To me a yes vote means:

  • It's OK for the Virginia and U. S. government to remain unresponsive to basic regional needs
  • It's OK to keep Virginia spending beyond its means
  • It's OK to have unlimited taxation
  • It's OK to ignore VDOT mismanagement of Virginia's transportation fund
  • It's OK for the Commonwealth to hide referendum debt on HRPDC books
  • It's OK to set up HRPDC as a "third government" for the Hampton Roads District
If the voters don't stand their ground and have the nerve to say NO, this system won't change for decades, and will give birth to similar initiatives.

According to the U. S. Census Bureau the average commuting time to work in Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Newport News, was 24 minutes. Also the Pilot survey released this October showed that 67 percent of those polled in Hampton Roads commute less than 25 minutes to work. No city worth its salt is totally free of rush hour traffic.

Should voters take the time to study the HRPDC transportation plan, neary all would say that the main issue is not fighting traffic. But rather that the underlying purpose of this plan is to promote and encourage regional growth. The driving premise is BIGGER IS BETTER.

The HRPDC predictions of gloom and doom should the referendum fail, I believe, do not hold water. The region has a good highway system. Drivers who want to avoid the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel at peak pedods have alternative routes that are available without experiencing unpleasant delays. Still other road projects nearing completion will also improve travel between the Peninsula and Southside.

Instead of gloom and doom, I am convinced that defeat of the transportation referendum will, in the long run, make Hampton Roads a better place to live, including a better transportation system.

Voters will pressure local politicians to focus more on smarter land use, mass transportation, curbing sprawl and fixing local road bottlenecks. Businesses will focus on bringing jobs close to employees, and computerization of many every day tasks will require less consumer travel. The list of what can be done is endless.

A friend who relocated here from New York City has a polite response to BIGGER IS BETTER advocates. He says "I've been there and done that .... that's why I am living here". 

Think about it. 

Vote NO November 5th on the Eastern Virginia Sales and Use Tax question. 

Al Strazzullo - Virginia Beach