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The Right Note: Stop ‘Saving’ Us Money

Mark KellyThe Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

After spending over $17 million for the yet-to-be-opened ART bus light maintenance facility in South Arlington, the county announced it is close to acquiring land for a third ART bus facility in Springfield.

The land cost for the heavy maintenance facility in Springfield itself is reported to be $4.65 million before up to $32 million could be added in the design and build process.

County officials admitted when the first facility was announced that it was too small to meet actual maintenance and storage needs, but that did not stop them from moving forward with it. The maintenance facilities are on top of the acquisition of land for ART bus parking in Shirlington.

As noted at the time, the South Arlington facility would save tax taxpayers $57,000 a year that Arlington pays to use existing Metrobus maintenance facilities. At that rate, the facility will pay for itself in about 308 years. If Arlington taxpayers are lucky, the heavy maintenance facility will pay for itself in 100 years or less.

Sure, Metro could stop allowing us to use their facilities, though it is hard to imagine they are looking to shed any extra revenue sources right now. Yes, it’s nice to have a facility that is our own. But spending millions on a “nice to have” project is the type of decision that can eventually get governments into financial hot water.

To put this in business terms, the decision to move forward with these maintenance facilities represents a negative return on investment. Only in government would you justify them as saving taxpayers money.

Of course, the government also calls it a spending “cut” when programs only grow by 4 percent instead of 5 percent. They also call reducing travel lanes and the resulting rush hour traffic backups, “road improvements.”

Speaking of “saving” money, our friends at the “Progressive Voice” printed more of the resolutions that the 8th District Democrats adopted this spring. On top of their list for spending money is universal health care.

With estimates of $400 billion annually to pay for universal health care in California alone, nearly $20 trillion in federal debt, and a 2017 federal budget deficit of $693 billion, there is simply no way to pay for it. And no, there not enough rich people in America to pay for it even if we doubled the amount they pay in income tax.

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It’s holiday time and the lights are coming on in Arlington. Over the next several weeks, a slew of tree lightings, Santa visits, markets, and holiday celebrations are happening around…

Join us December 10 & 11 for our Annual Handmade Holiday Workshop Series. We have a myriad of fun and festive programs from linoleum block wrapping paper printing and buttonhole book making workshops led by Eliza Clifford to a meditative grid workshop and Calligraphy Card Making with Anjelika Deogirikar. Join these wonderful artists and get creative this holiday season!

Submit your own Announcement here.

Light Up Arlington – Clarendon Menorah Lighting

Join us as we celebrate the holiday of Chanukah! Enjoy delicious Latkes, hot cocoa, donuts and more!

Clarendon Menorah Lighting and Community Celebration

Experience the festival of lights!!

*Lighting of a giant 9 foot Menorah

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National Chamber Ensemble – Holiday Cheer!

NCE’s Holiday Concert will bring the finest classical masterpieces and holiday favorites together for the whole family. The festivities begin with Leroy Anderson’s classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Chanukkah Festival”, music from the Nutcracker and by J.S. Bach.

Outstanding Young Artist

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