As the City of Falls Church’s representative to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), City Council David Snyder delivered a scathing indictment against the House Republicans in Richmond who killed efforts last week at finding a funding solution to permit sorely-needed transportation infrastructure improvements and development in Northern Virginia. He accused them of harboring a “cynical” delight that “took pride in doing nothing,” while the region’s transportation needs worsen.
“The need for infrastructure is lost on the Virginia Assembly,” he said, describing Richmond’s abusive behavior as similar to that of England against its colonies that provoked the American Revolution. “If Virginia goes into decline, in the future historians will look back on the actions of the House Republicans last week as the beginning,” the angry Councilman, himself a Republican, intoned. He also noted the security and safety issues, and not “mere convenience,” associated with gridlock and infrastructure decay, and said it impacts the federal government in Washington as much as it does residents of Northern Virginia.
Indeed, the problems are only further compounded by the high cost of gas at the pump and the more general economic malaise, triggered by the national housing and sub-prime mortgage crises, the drying up of capital, rising unemployment, inflation and the decline in consumer spending. To have the regional transportation infrastructure unable to function during the lifestyle transitions associated with these troubling issues over time only makes things worse, eventually driving business and the labor force away. In Prince William County and other areas, the construction labor force has already evaporated due to the mass racist hysteria that, in supposedly targeting illegal aliens, caused all Hispanic residents, legal or not, to move away from those aversive environments. And for the skilled and unskilled workers who have remained, their ability to get to and from their workplaces with $4 a gallon gas, roads choked with bumper-to-bumper traffic, and inadequate public transportation, will drive up the costs associated with their labor, creating a workforce pool both too expensive and undermanned. Soon, the by-products of all this will be felt in the cancellation of projects and the relocation of businesses and workers, alike, away from this region to states where these problems are not so severe.
So, Mr. Snyder’s vision is a correct one. Ideological prejudice by rightwing Republicans in Virginia is killing the golden goose. It is merely repugnant in good economic times. In bad times, it spells disaster. Significant political strides have been made against the pervasive influence of such elements in Virginia in recent years, but much more must be achieved, and quickly. Economic prosperity cannot ultimately prevail in a state where reason does not.