Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bill Howell's Spin

It was reported today in the FLS that Bill Howell continues to harp on an anti-gas tax platform, yet he refuses to answer to reasonable workable solutions to come up with a revenue stream to fund transportation. Now before my hard core republican friends stop reading, at least get through the math and discussion below. On two separate occasions I have engaged Mr. Howell in a personal discussion of the gas tax and both times he has avoided proposing a specific solution or alternative.

In 1986, the gas tax was set at the current rate of 17.5 cents per gallon. This is not inflation adjusted, so today that 17.5 cents is worth the equivalent of 9.2 cents (calc). That means road users are paying just about half the tax to use the same roads that they used in 1986.

Howell's most reasonable explanation for stalling a change to the gas tax is that as users transition to more efficient vehicles, the revenue stream is reduced, as it is based on the number of gallons sold. He seems to forget that every year that goes by also reduces the equivalent buying power of this revenue. He also leaves out that his own republican party is regularly voting against increasing fuel mileage standards. When prodded about how to relate transportation costs to impacts and use, his conversation wanders to the only fair solution being one that taxes on per-mileage. These technologies are years away from being affordable, cheap and hack-proof. Any manager would point out that you can only work with what is available today, and the best (cheapest, easiest, and closest to scaling to impact or use) is to look at the gas tax.

Instead Howell and others are proposing a one time fix of privatizing Virginia's ABC store. Isn't this much like selling the family cow? Now, for other reasons I fully support this plan, but not as a long term fix for Virginia transportation. How does this go for paying years of maintenance and road improvements?

I hate spin. If we're really going to find solutions, and I mean fully implemented systems approaches, it's going to take a combination of actions and compromises.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Pub rocks starting in Dec

A local favorite is The Pub. Its the original, not to be confused with Fredericksburg Pub. David over at Musings Over a Pint has written about this place starting a true brewpub.

We ate a great dinner here on Friday. Gail enjoyed a tasty hot ham and cheese, and my french dip was delic. They even had a good selection on the child's menu. Our one year old likes pickles - who would have guessed that one?

I am happy to report that brewing is set to begin the week of September 28th. They are planning three batches to start with, an ale, red and a hefferveisen. Expect the first to appear on tap in 3-4 weeks. Once the first batch is ready, The Pub is planning some type of brewpub opening party.

Come December, when the smoking restrictions kick in, this may become one of our top recommendations. Until then we won't attempt bringing our child back which is a shame since he enjoyed the food. December can't get here quick enough.

Stories From Other Blogs