2007-02-02, 10:22

Virginia governor on smart growth and the transportation problem

By: Jonathan Groner
On Jan. 10, 2007, in his "State of the Commonwealth" address to the Virginia General Assembly, Gov. Tim Kaine (D), addressed land use, smart growth, and traffic reduction issues, all of which are closely related to mixed-use development. Here are the relevant quotes:

The solution to our transportation problem must include three components: strong accountability of our transportation agencies, better connections between land use and transportation planning, and new, reliable, long-term funding of our system.

That spirit of innovation should also guide our planning for future growth. In 2006, we took the first real steps to link transportation and land use planning through legislation concerning traffic impact statements, transfers of development rights, and cluster housing. This year, let’s take the next steps towards smart growth management.

Communities need clear authority to reject rezoning proposals when new developments would overwhelm the existing transportation infrastructure. We must protect the investments that we have already made in critical transportation corridors by managing access to those roads in a way that promotes safe, swift travel. And we need incentives for new subdivision streets to be designed to reduce congestion and long-term maintenance costs. The state should not automatically pick up the maintenance costs for new roads unless those roads are designed to move traffic efficiently.

This is a reasonably strong statement against unchecked sprawl and in favor of carefully planned growth. This approach will encourage mixed-use development in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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