Buses Instead of Trolley Will Save Money
Sharon Bulova’s guest commentary in the October 4 – 10 issue of the Falls Church News-Press eloquently addresses the plight of transportation funding in Northern Virginia and invites public comment in “Fairfax County’s transportation dialogue” with suggestions on how to raise more transportation funding.
One logical conclusion from her narrative would be to adopt a user-pays policy: if we need more money for roads, that should be paid for by the vehicles which use them, with a dedicated gasoline tax being the easiest to administer; if we want more subways, charge the subway riders what it costs, etc.
We also could get more funding for pressing local needs if we avoid extravaganza such as the quarter-billion-dollar Columbia Pike streetcar system recently approved on a divided vote. Only one block of the proposed trolley line (on S. Jefferson St.) lies in Fairfax, but that alone is projected to cost more than $50 million.
From a traffic congestion standpoint, staff studies project that the trams along the Pike won’t do much better than modern buses in terms of improved transit time or ridership volume. Fairfax’s contribution to the streetcar options, which is almost all in Arlington, is budgeted at about $30 million. The budgeted cost out of the state’s dwindling transportation fund would be about $35 million. Most of this $65 million could be spent on more urgent needs if the Board were to opt for an advanced bus system costing only a fraction of the trolley.
Asian-Pacific American Vote Key in N. Va.
As a Virginia resident, I’ve seen first-hand the contributions that the Asian American and Pacific Islander community has made to rebuild and strengthen Virginia’s economy. In Congressman Mike Honda’s piece, “NoVa’s Asian American Pacific Islander Vote is Critical,” he accurately states the changing demographic of our electorate and the impact that the AAPI community can have on VA elections and nationwide.
In Virginia we are blessed with diversity, which gives Virginia a competitive advantage that generates innovation and spurs economic prosperity. President Obama understands that small businesses drive the engine of our economy, and under his leadership, he has leveled the playing field by enacting 18 tax cuts for small businesses, helped them access capital and government contracts and made smart investments in education to build the workforce of the future.
This election is a choice between two fundamentally different visions for America. One is based on progress, fairness and shared responsibility, while the other is regressive, targets our middle class and burdens our most vulnerable. The AAPI community is in a unique position to make a difference to steward our core American values, and to stand in solidarity with President Obama to move our country forward.
This year AAPIs are making our voices heard, such as the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and their Every Vote Counts program, which works to engage the AAPI community and get out the vote.
Linh D. Hoang
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