HRTA is already rewriting its map

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 19, 2007

The controversial Hampton Roads Transportation Authority, which has gotten off to a rocky start, and flirting with rocky shoreline again.

Last week, the Authority’s Legislative Committee presented a plan to revise some of the taxes and fees, and asking the Authority to return to the very group that created it — The Virginia General Assembly — and lobby to rewrite some of its marching orders.

In short, Authority members have initiated damage control before it collected a penny to fund its goal or poured a foot of pavement toward meeting that goal — relieving traffic congestion in Hampton Roads.

While it is widely recognized that congestion in the Hampton Roads area is horrific, the practical nature behind forming the HRTA has never been popular.

The HRTA was formed to administer some $162 million a year raised through higher taxes and higher fees related to transportation.

Raising taxes and raising fees in only a few counties is never a heart-warming gesture. Isle of Wight County merchants, who were subjected to the increases, were among the loudest objectors.

Now, members of the Authority apparently agree with the dissenters; at least that’s what they’re saying publicly.

They have asked the Authority to eliminate some increases in fees and taxes, while requesting others be raised.

The question begs asking: Is this a fundamental change of heart or merely tweaking of a flawed program?