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Bureaucrats Acting Badly With Tapxyaer Money

Blogging at Tertium Quids today, Brian Gottstein writes that “another transportation gaff will cost Virginia taxpayers, specifically noting:

“Poor planning by Virginia's transportation bureaucrats has led to a gaff that will likely cost taxpayers many millions more than initially projected (so, what else is new?), and we may be obligated to pay for that gaff for the next 40 years.”

Speaking of bureaucrats and other elected officials, WMAL reported today that: “Virginia transportation officials celebrated the start of construction (today) with a symbolic groundbreaking atop a parking garage overlooking the state's busiest road.” Here is a portion of what the Washington Post reported on Sunday:

“But under an agreement Virginia signed with the private companies building high-occupancy toll lanes on the Capital Beltway, the state could be liable for millions of dollars a year if too many carpoolers, who will be exempt from tolls, use the lanes.
“The carpool subsidy is in addition to the $409 million that taxpayers are investing in the $2 billion, 14-mile project, expected to break ground next week.
“Under the 80-year contract signed in December, when gas prices were much lower, Virginia officials insisted that carpools of three or more people and buses be allowed to use the lanes for free and offered to reimburse 70 percent of the tolls carpoolers didn't pay.
“At the time, transportation officials estimated that the provision would cost the state $1 million a year. The carpool subsidy will continue for 40 years or until the builders make $100 million in profits, according to the contract between Virginia and Transurban, an Australian company, and Flour Corp. of Texas. The subsidy kicks in when carpools exceed 24 percent of the traffic on the lanes.”

What happened? According to Brian:

“Apparently these officials were the only people in the country who could not predict that gas prices would go up, even though this is a trend that has been going on for the past several years.”

And the tax-and-spend crowd in Richmond wonder why some taxpayers are leery of letting more money accumulate in the hands of the transportation bureaucrats? By the way, it would be the unelected Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) that would be spending much of our money.

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