DC isn’t the only place in the area where a Republican legislative majority in a large, mostly exurban and rural geographic area is threatening serious budget blows against a small, Democratic-leaning, urban jurisdiction.
In the Virginia legislature, at least one influential House Republican is looking to take a big bite out of Arlington County’s revenues as payback for its opposition to HOT lanes.
ARLnow has been reporting from Richmond about how Delegate Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax), the chair of the House Republican caucus, has been holding up a bill to let Arlington continue its existing hotel tax. Now, he’s also introduced three budget amendments which would withhold money from jurisdictions that oppose HOT lane projects, cut off state funding for Arlington’s streetcar and roadway changes on Columbia Pike, and conduct an audit of the quality of roadways in Arlington.
In Friday’s WAMU Politics Hour discussion with Brian Moran, Tom Sherwood joked that one of Virginia’s transportation plans is to “obliterate Arlington and make a big interchange.” It seems that Hugo, at least, really does see Arlington as nothing more than what’s in the way of him driving to DC, and if they won’t let the state ram wider roads through, he’d like to obliterate the county in the state legislature.
Instead, maybe officials should stop blaming Arlington for being dense and walkable while their own counties chose unsustainable, sprawling development patterns. Sherwood talked about how traffic is bad and how building more roads won’t make it better. He said, “I’m very fatalistic about Northern Virginia traffic. I think it’s always going to be bad… no matter how many roads they do or how many bicycles they buy… It seems to me that Northern Virginia is doomed because of the policies of the last 35 years.”
Or, maybe the two small, oppressed jurisdictions on the Potomac should band together and try to push for statehood together. Republicans would get a redder Virginia in exchange, though it would sink their hopes of massive freeway expansions. Arlington might have a vote in the state legislature, but it’s got a lot in common with DC’s struggle.