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Forum LockedHow to Scare the Politicians on HOT

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Bob View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How to Scare the Politicians on HOT
    Posted: 21 Aug 2007 at 10:27am
The furor over the abusive driver fees has pretty much taken everyone by surprise, including the state delegates. If we could harness that, or the fear that something like that will happen with the implementation of HOT, we have some real leverage.

A big reason we have seen relatively muted opposition is the thing is just so confusing and no one knows how it will turn out. However, once it is implemented and the average guy making $30k gets socked with hundreds per year of tolls, things will change dramatically. There is the potential for a avalanche of opposition that will dwarf what we are seeing with the abuse fees.

This needs to be pointed out to the powers that be.
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AveMaria View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AveMaria Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2007 at 11:03am
You would think that with THOUSANDS of folks at risk to lose the luxury of free ridership (as slugs) and minimized commute times (as drivers) that there would be a ROAR of opposition.

Instead the majority just sit back passively and EXPECT that someone ELSE will lobby FOR them.

The grim reality (and truth) is there are very FEW worker bees and far too MANY who love to sit back and savor on the honey.

I can say that I have done my part in getting the word out and voicing my opposition to elected officials and news media.

Thanks to all who have done likewise!
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Cavvie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cavvie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2007 at 10:41am
The difference between implementation of the abusive drivers fees and converting HOV to HOT, is a legally binding contract and the size of the affected population. The Commonwealth of Virginia wrote and passed the bill to implement abusive fees. Therefore, they can and will modify or rescind the abusive drivers fee because they apply to ALL the citizens of Virginia and they know that Joe Public is angry enough to vote them out.

The HOT lanes however, which affect only the slugging community and therefore a much smaller portion of the voting population, i.e., less threatening politically, are CONTRACTED to Fluor. The public may not like it (and they won't when they find out the toll is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), but there will be no rescinding of the HOT lanes unless the Commonwealth wants to buy out Fluor at a significant cost. I'm afraid once the contract is signed, the lanes will belong to Fluor for the next 60+ years and our illustrious Delegates in Richmond, if they feel ANY pressure, will just shrug their shoulders and say there is nothing they can do because of the contractual limitations. In the meantime, they will continue to get a cut of the toll proceeeds to spend in the rest of the Commontwealth. The General Assembly won't be able to correct this error with a stroke of the pen.
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Sheepish View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sheepish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2007 at 12:45pm
Cavvie,
With regards to your post, I disagree with this part of your comment:
"The HOT lanes however, which affect only the slugging community and therefore a much smaller portion of the voting population..."

HOT does *not* impact only the slugging community. As I have stated in feedback I gave for the online survey, I think an important point is overlooked where the citizens of the entire Commonwealth are impacted because this is a fundemental change in how VDOT is handling transportation, without their yea or nay as to this change. You actually support that yourself when you say "...unless the Commonwealth wants to buy out Fluor at a significant cost." THAT is why I think this is something that needs to be promoted across the Commonwealth. If this is only discussed as a slugging issue, then the message is dismissed by those that don't slug or use the lanes. When HOT impacts the wallets of all taxpayers (the risk of a 60 year deal with no details made available as to the risks and impacts [financial or other] of a bailout) then this is a big deal to everyone else.

I am talking to everyone I know that doesn't commute up the highway or slug, etc. to make this very point and to tell them they need to get informed and involved and then I send them the petition link. (I am sure I have reached a point among my friends and colleagues where they have all silently agreed not to ever use the word "hot" within my hearing just so they don't have to hear it again.... )

I am not trying to argue with you, just to try to get you to think and talk beyond the point of this only affecting the slugging community-- and urge you to make this point among people you know that may not slug either.
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Bob View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2007 at 2:03pm
Yes, and I was addressing this very issue on this thread, that once HOT is implemented, hundreds of thousands of people will immediately realize how this is going to affect them. And it goes way beyond slugging since it will be a 24/7 operation.

If implemented, HOT will cost non-slugs who want to move at more than a snail's pace any day of the week. In fact, I am starting to think that most of their revenues will be on weekends.

If HOT fails, it could potentially cost all taxpayers in the state big time to buy the lanes back and compensate Fluor.

If there are non-compete clauses, these could prevent the building of roads that may have otherwise been built.

Yes it goes way beyond slugs.

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Cavvie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cavvie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2007 at 2:42pm
Sheepish, you're right. I agree that it will affect everyone. I meant to say that politicians and most citizens, if they even know about this conversion, seem to think it will only affect the slugging community right now and therefore doesn't pose a risk politically. Once the contract is signed and everyone realizes it is 24/7, then the politicians will hear the outcry from everyone. The difference is at that point the General Assembly can claim contractually there is nothing they can do and, in addition place all the blame on VDOT for signing such a bad deal and if they had only known they could have stopped it. Then they walk away smiling, knowing they have more revenue from Northern Virginia to spend everywhere except Northern Virgnia and there isn't a thing the citizens can do about it. Oh, maybe the delegates from Prince William or Stafford might get voted out, but that won't affect the rest of the General Assembly. They can go back home and campaign on how creative they are in socking it to those Northern Virgninians without having to increase any tax on the rest of the Commonwealth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n/a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2007 at 3:20pm
There will be a significant negative financial impact of HOT lanes on local communities south of the beltway.

Money spent on tolls is money that commuters cannot spend on other things that they may otherwise purchase from local merchants. Toll revenues collected leave the NOVA area (and the country). They are dollars taken out of local consumer pockets that were formerly spent on local products and services. This factor erodes any benefit that new affluent HOT commuters may bring to a community as they flee the close-in urban areas. ANY discretionary consumer spending ability that is removed from a local economy has a negative affect on area businesses, erodes the local tax base and will negatively impact residents who count on those taxes to fund local services.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jody Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2007 at 3:44pm
With HOT lanes in effect 24/7, the trucking industry will use them to cut down their commute time on the I395 corridor. Seriously doubt Fluor, VDOT or the VA legislature will limit the type or number of vehicles that can access HOT lanes.
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AveMaria View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AveMaria Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2007 at 4:18pm
Jody brings up a good point about truckers possibly using the lanes exclusively...never thought about that aspect.

Hmmmmm...


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Bob View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 2007 at 5:57pm
Unfortunately or fortunately, VDOT has said that semis will not be allowed on the HOT lanes. That was stated recently at the Woodbridge mtg. So that is apparently a non-issue.

Bob
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