Dwight Farmer, Executive Director of the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), spoke to the Board of Directors of Light Rail Now on Monday. Most of his remarks touched on general transportation and roads, with only a small portion on light rail. However, his comments on funding should once again sound alarm bells.
Transportation funding is usually measured in twenty year cycles. At the time of HB 3202 (which established the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority) it was at $13 billion for the region, with $8 billion raised by 3202's taxes and fees and $5 billion from other sources. It's currently only $2.5 billion. For those who attack rail, a "roads only" program would take in the neighborhood of $20 billion.
First, when we're operating on less than 20% of what was anticipated at the time of the HRTA, only the fringe right can deny we have a severe problem. Second, for those who want "roads only!", how are you going to fund an 800% increase in roads spending?