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Tax Bill Blocker Proposes Anti-Arlington Amendments

by ARLnow.com January 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm 3,295 65 Comments

The Fairfax Republican who is threatening to quash a bill identified as one of Arlington’s top legislative priorities in Richmond has proposed several amendments to this year’s state budget bill that are sure to give Arlington officials reason to worry.

Del. Tim Hugo, the chair of the Virginia House Republican Caucus, is threatening to table a bill that would renew Arlington’s half-percent hotel tax surcharge, unless Arlington officials head to Richmond to explain the county’s controversial lawsuit against High Occupancy Toll lanes on I-395. So far, it does not appear that any members of the county board will be taking Hugo up on his offer.

But Hugo’s HOT lanes antagonism doesn’t stop there. He’s also proposing three Arlington-related amendments to the state budget bill, HB 1500. The amendments would deny state funding to the Columbia Pike streetcar project, require an audit of Arlington roads maintained with state funds, and would potentially cut off millions in state transportation funds to the region in the event that the HOT lanes project is canceled due to opposition from an individual jurisdiction (i.e. Arlington).

Would those amendments actually make it into the budget bill?

“It’s possible,” said Ben Tribbett, who runs the Not Larry Sabato Virginia politics blog, noting Hugo’s senior position as Republican Caucus chair. We have not been able to reach Del. Hugo for comment.

See the text of the amendments after the jump.

Photo via timhugo.com

The following amendment is meant to discourage individual jurisdictions from preventing the construction of a HOT lane project.

If the construction of a high occupancy toll lane project that is located in more than one planning district is not constructed because of opposition from a metropolitan planning organization, an amount equal to all state and federal funds expended on such project shall be deducted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board from allocations pursuant to S 58.1-638 A. 4., Code of Virginia, to recipients in which the project is located.

The next amendment would deny state funds to Arlington’s Columbia Pike streetcar project.

The transfer of Columbia Pike from the Virginia Department of Transportation to Arlington County shall constitute the Commonwealth’s sole capital contribution to any transit project located on the Columbia Pike rights-of-way. No such project may be eligible for allocations, grants or reimbursements pursuant to S 58.1-638 A. 4.

The last amendment would require VDOT’s Inspector General to compare the condition of Arlington’s roads to those of other urban roads in the Commonwealth.

The Inspector General of the Virginia Department of Transportation shall audit the use of highway maintenance funds allocated to Arlington County for compliance with the provisions of S 33.1-23.5:1. As part of such audit, the Inspector Gneral shall compare the condition of Arlington roadways with those in other urbanized areas of the Commonwealth.”

  • ArlBlueSky

    Can they also remove the 5% restaurant tax in Arlington County.

  • Bluemont John

    It’s actually “quash,” not “squash” since a literal physical squashing is not meant. But well-written nonetheless.

    • mehoo

      Squash can be a metaphor for quash though.

      • I’ll change to quash, just in case.

        • mehoo

          So you’re quashing squash?

  • Roads or Soccer Turf

    Has anyone else noticed that Gunston Middle School is getting what appears to be brand new soccer turf after just getting a brand new grass soccer field last year while the road 28th Street which I travel on is terribly torn up from all the underground digging? I would like to see the roads with a smooth surface before uplifting perfectly playable soccer fields time and time again. Who can we contact about this? I love sports, but must travel roads every day.

    • Beckham

      The field at Gunston is barely playable. In fact, it has not been cared for properly (presumably to save money) and is a risk to player injury because of such. It is a liability to the county if they are renting out field time, a player gets injured because of field neglect, and a suit follows.

      • Roads or Soccer Turf

        I’ll take you at your work David, but roads have far more traffic…both foot and automobile.

        • Roads or Soccer Turf


    • Alan Howze

      @Roads & @Beckham – just to give you some background on the Gunston field replacement. The replacement project is part of the Capital Improvement Plan approved by the County Board last year. The Gunston field was installed in 2002 and after 8+ years of year-round all-weather play had reached the end of its lifespan (the planned life of synthetic turf fields is 8 years). I play indoor soccer at the Gunston bubble (also a synthetic turf field) next to the turf field and every time I drive by – no matter the weather – the outdoor turf field it is being used. The synthetic fields have greatly extended recreational opportunities because they can be used so much harder than a grass field can.
      The Capital Improvement Plan also provided a significant increase in paving funding that should improve the quality of Arlington maintained roadways over the next couple of years (a number of major Arlington roads are State maintained).
      Here are a couple of links with more info:

      • Roads or Soccer Turf

        Thanks for the information. I’ve played in “the bubble” myself and realize how bad it is. I am probably bitter by the increased frequency of my driving along the road as opposed to the fortune of playing soccer a few weeks a year.

  • Greg

    You overlooked one of his bills: “In comparing Fairfax and Arlington Counties to one another in all official State publications, the use of the words “sucks”, “crappy”, and “hell” shall no longer be used to refer to Fairfax County. Instead, Fairfax County shall be described as “cool”, “manly”, and “well hung” pursuant to S 55.1-612 B. 4.”

  • No Street Car

    Good…He should introduce a bill to reduce or stop funding all together of that rediculous trolley

    • Terry

      REdiculous, eh? Well let’s hope education funding isn’t one of the items that gets tabled.

    • John Antonelli

      Amen tank you Delegate Hugo. You are my hero!

      • DouroDouro

        Yes, “tank” you, Tim Hugo for doing something totally childish…

        • Wolf_N_Sheep

          Its not childish to dislike making the rest of Virginia kick in for Arlington’s pet projects. It is childish, however, to sue the state over how it spends the state highway funds after deliberation and a vote in the state assembly. The trolley idea has likely caused legislators in other districts to question how Alrington spends their apportioned funds. I believe the issue is transparency.

    • Karen

      I totally agree. The streetcar idea is ridiculous!!

  • OX4

    Is this payback or something? Sounds like Hugo got beat up by Arlington in elementary school.

  • BoredHouseWife

    Awww, is someone mad that they cannot pollute Arlington’s skies? What a self-serving entitled jerk. The HOT lanes will do nothing to ease congestion, unless, they add them in DC as well.

  • BoredHouseWife

    What a self-serving entitled jerk. The HOT lanes will do nothing to ease congestion, unless, they add them in DC as well.

    • Rick

      the whole point of 395 is that it goes into dc. the ho_ lanes have their own bridge and everything!

  • Greg

    Hooray! Maturity!

  • G

    Arlington County was not relying on the state to fund the streetcar anyway.

    • Arlingtonian2

      Then how is the trolley being funded? If not by the Feds and if not by the State, are the taxpayers funding it? Did we get to vote on the trolley?

  • Captain Obvious

    Wow, that’s some hard-hitting political commentary from Ben!

    • Not Larry Sabato

      I gave him more, blame Scott! 😀

      • Who Larry Sabat and why are you not him?

  • G

    Too bad NOVA can’t secede from the rest of VA… I’d like to see how well they get on without all our tax dollars. Though Hugo is from Fairfax, he wouldn’t have nearly as much power in hypothetical “North Virginia” to hold Arlington hostage with its own money.

    • Burger

      Ummm…actually, he would probably have more given that you would have 1 million people in Fairfax in a population of maybe 2 million i.e. Arlington, Alexandria, PW and Loudon counties v. the 1 million of Fairfax in a population of 9 million.

      But keep whinning. the Arlington County Board made their bed based on their ability to bully and beguile the majority of lemmings that live in Arlington and someone stood up to them. There is always a bigger bully around to demonstrate the lack of power you truly have.

  • Bluemonter

    I think Moran should hit back with some legislation against Fairfax Station. Like if Arlington is not allowed funding then Fairfax Station taxes go toward the funding pulled from Arlington. He want’s to play this game…Game on beatch!

    • Burger

      have you met Moran…he couldn’t say no to money if he tried.

  • Delegate Not

    If I didn’t live in arlington and pay taxes, I’d be laughing my ass off at the very justified payback. But delegate Hugo, realize that there are also republicans in Arlington that are harmed. BTW, good call on canceling funding for the pet project on Columbia Pike (even if we’re not borrowing state money). The Street Car might be a good idea when the county has the money, but not when our Arlington board is cutting water park hours for kids in the county so they can build pet projects, dog parks, and encourage illegals to move to Arlington to a public school system not keeping pace. Maybe you can do a bit of emminent domain on Zimmerman’s house and turn it into a community center instead? Then we’d all share in the laugh.

  • Robin

    This is what happens when you have no balance or diversity on the County Board. They intentionally sue civil servants in their personal capacity and bankrupt them and their families in a vindictive and childish attempt to force tne entire Commonwealth into mass transit even where privately owned conveyance is cheaper, cleaner and more appropriate. We need to add balance to Arlington County government in November.

    • DouroDouro

      you had a chance to do that not long ago, actually. let’s hope you don’t have much luck this time around either.

    • Patrick

      As an Arlington citizen, voter, and taxpayer, I wonder whether Arlington County’s suit against officals in their personal capacity amounts to abuse of process. That might be an interesting suit all its own.

  • Jack

    I thought they were making Wall St to pay for the Street Car.

  • Pingback: Pike Wire | PM Wrap Up for JAN24/11()


    Hugo is a crass opportunist. The HOT lanes benefit his county while adding very little benefit to Arlington. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that tourism in Arlington benefits the whole state. Now he shows his immature side. He got caught trying to build HOT lanes without following all the proper procedures and now he wants to blame Arlington for his incompetence. Time is up for Del. Hugo. Let us declare war on Fairfax county. Set up toll booths at the county line on I95 and I66 and only charge tolls to Fairfax County residents.

  • MC

    Here’s a Republican trying to deny the Commonwealth of Virginia revenues by scuttling existing taxes that Virginia taxpayers do not have to pay, and hold the Commonwealth’s taxes hostage because of a court decision that hasn’t even been made (is he afraid of the law?) This guy is as bad as Putin, wanting to use tax revenues as he pleases rather than as citizens who pay it want it to be used, or as the legal system determines outcomes must be based on established law.

    Mr. Hugo is an autocrat because he wants to impose his personal will on people who did not elect him and cannot vote him out of office.

    Sadly, this kind of tit-for-tat is also engaged by the County Board when they decide they don’t need to follow Commonwealth or Federal rules when they don’t like them, and undermine our credibility in Richmond to shame nonsense such as Hugo’s.

    • I live in Arlington and I called Hugo’s office today to THANK him and asked him to keep it up.

      Screw Zimmerman and his cronies.

      • MC

        One can also argue that Hugo’s action is anti-business, since he want’s to deny Arlington funds to promote tourism. Whether or not such spending actually does much, the denial of free tax money from largely out-of-state hotel guests can’t help the Commonwealth’s overall tourism and the spending (and sales taxes) that generates.

        • Jason S

          Those businesses are completely free to collect a $0.25 increase on their room rates and spend it on advertising if they’d like.

        • I’m fairly confident those monies don’t do jack for tourism, though they probably feed a few people at the county who will need to get paid another way.

          • dan


  • DouroDouro

    It’s kind of funny to see how the few sad conservatives that reside in our fair county have taken this blog as an outlet to complain about EVERY single action the County Board takes. I can’t recall seeing one positive thing said by folks like you. Why don’t you go vote them out? Oh wait…

    • Jason S

      Every single action? That’s a stretch. Even if they did that, you should always have some sort of opposition in government. Without strong opposition, Arlington would end up with a billion dollars of debt.

      • DouroDouro

        I would also welcome some opposition, actually, as long as its educated opposition vs. most of the knee-jerk reactions I see on here.

        • Jason S

          And the support is educated support?

        • Wolf_N_Sheep

          If you agree with me you are educated. If you do not agree with me you are uneducated. Did I sum that up correctly, DouroDouro? You also are making large assumptions about each individual’s political persuasion based upon very little information.

      • 4Arl

        County debt is already well in excess of a billion dollars. http://www.arlnow.com/2010/12/15/open-discussion-arlington-releases-financial-audit/

    • G

      +1 Douro

  • Jeff Miller

    Three cheers for Del. Tim Hugo!

    The County Board’s lawsuit on I-395 is a total outrage: playing the race card, threatening public servants with personal financial liability, and costing Arlington taxpayers over $1.5 million (so far).

    And the proposed Columbia Pike trolley would be a traffic nightmare, snarling traffic on the Pike, with a price tag of a quarter BILLION dollars (or more).

    It’s a sad commentary on Arlington that none of our local officials has been willing to question the County Board’s ill-considered policies. We could use a local legislator like Mr. Hugo.

  • The native

    We could use a legislator like Mr. Hugo…. Really? Maybe we could use a few more Albos, or Cheneys. I think we could do with a few less people like Cucinelli who is suing UVA because he disagrees with the scientific conclusions of a professor. Hugo is doing the same thing he always does trying to legislate beyond his mandate to people that he was not elected by. Long live the constitution… As he mid-understands it to be.

    • Dan

      Funny thing — I don’t like either Cucinelli or the Arlington County Board.

      They both seem to be posturing for their own interests rather than the state’s or county’s.
      Just goes to show that foolishness is not confined to one party.

  • John Andre

    Typical present-day GOP politics! Load us up with higher taxes, while taking away our pensions and Social Security benefits using the excuse that “the national debt is way too high”.

    The “tea party” in essence is little more than a stalking horse for the big Wall Street fat cats who contributed to the economic mess we’re now in. True, they complain about “globalism”, the Rockefellers, etc, but then support policies which protect the very interests they criticize.

    The way out of our economic mess is to free ourselves from the economic establishment and to adopt policies which reduce our dependence on petroleum-based fuels. We need motor vehicles based on electricity and perhaps other technologies [flywheels?]. Unfortunately the economic establishment continues to be wedded to internal combustion. In the long run, petroleum isn’t going to get any cheaper. In the recent past the big auto companies have suppressed any technology not based on the gasoline engine.

    As for specific politicians, Hugo, Cuccinelli and Marshall continue to promote obsolete right-wing schemes which won’t help us but will aid the establishment fat cats.

  • Bender

    Thanks for all that new tone and greater civility in your comments folks.

    Why not listen to the President and stop with the obnoxious partisan attacks, huh?

    • F.U.

      Hey Bender, as you know, the whole “civility” in politics is just another way to try and silence republican ideas now that the liberal supermajority was thrown out.

      • mehoo

        Most ironic post of the year.

  • Wayne Kubicki

    Couple of “fiscal errors” in two of the posts above:

    (1) Arlington is in fact expecting the Commonwealth of VA to fund part of the Pike Trolley – the County CIP adopted last summer projected nearly $19M in state funding.

    (2) The “car tax” is a local tax – those dollars go into Arlington’s coffers, not Virginia’s.

  • jellyBean

    The Columbia Pike Trolley will help in the sense that there are roughly 8 bus lines constantly in the right lanes (sometimes) on Columbia Pike all day. This will all but eliminate the need for these busses… the cost of putting in the trolley might not factor the savings of not having to run these busses constantly. It would be cool if this trolley plugged into the metro directly. Fairfax has no business interfering with Arlington… This Hugo guy is a ‘Loose Cannon’ and should be replaced.

    • Karen

      All the trolleys will do is go up and back. For those of us who actually live in the Columbia Pike corridor they are useless and will make the traffic even worse.

      • mehoo

        What do you mean, they just go up and back? You think they don’t stop on the way? You don’t see how they could possibly be useful to people who live near them, for either local travel or commuting?

  • dislike for dittmar

    the sierra club supports the hot lanes lawsuit and so do i. the hot lanes project was given a free pass by the bush administration without doing the proper environmental studies. furthermore if they build more cars and trucks will be on our roads, not less. hot lanes will not help the traffic problem it will only make a few contractors and the private owners very wealthy.

    • mehoo

      HOT lanes are still HOV lanes. They just have an option to buy access for single drivers at a price that is based on the HOT lane use at a given moment. So it would still encourage carpooling, but also relieve congestion more by allowing the use of unused capacity on the HOT lanes when it exists. And less congestion reduces pollution. It’s not public transportation, but it beats just adding more lanes mindlessly.


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