- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Increased traffic congestion and gas prices are causing Virginians’ heads to spin, while the General Assembly keeps failing to fix the traffic problems (Virginia’s transportation conundrum,” Op-Ed, Tuesday). The problems are not exclusively Virginian, however, and neither is the answer.

The seventh annual Congestion Relief Index by Heartland Institute senior fellow Wendell Cox finds that shifting 25 percent of freight from trucks to rail by 2026 would dramatically reduce congestion, pollution and fuel use in urban areas, all without unfairly burdening taxpayers.

Washington, Richmond and Virginia Beach each would see an enormous impact from such a plan. We estimate that the average commuter in these cities would save approximately $850 in congestion costs, 69 gallons of fuel and 38 hours of congestion delay every year.

If Virginia’s government officials are serious about solving the transportation conundrum, they should unshackle the freight rail industry from excessive regulation and encourage private investment through public-private partnerships and tax incentives.

JOHN NOTHDURFT

Legislative specialist

Budget and tax policy

Heartland Institute

Chicago

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