State should pay for roads, not Stafford County

There will be a $50 million road bond question on Stafford County ballots Nov. 5. In Virginia, road projects are funded by the commonwealth, so local governments should not be using their local bonding authority to fund them.

Limited local bonding authority should be reserved for schools, parks and public safety. Every time a local government burns some of its bonding authority on roads, it limits what investments it is able to make in these areas.

Education needs to be our priority. Before we go down this route for roads, the Board of Supervisors needs to figure out a way to ensure our teachers and school staff get higher pay, that our classrooms are not overcrowded, and that school facilities are at least adequate. The county needs to invest in school infrastructure first.

The county probably can’t even raise $50 million and will end up spending millions of taxpayer money that should go to our teachers.

The last time Stafford residents were asked to consider a local bond referendum to improve county roads was in November 2008. That referendum targeted 19 road projects at an estimated cost of $145 million, with $68 million of that coming from bond proceeds.

Although the bond amount was set at $70 million, only $24 million worth of bonds were sold. The county spent an additional $16.4 million on these projects.

We need to be pushing the state to fix these roads, as it is their responsibility. As soon as we turn the General Assembly blue in November, that should become one of their priorities.

So vote “no” on the road projects bond and “yes” for Democrats.

Bill Johnson–Miles


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