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The high cost of easing Virginia traffic

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Oct. 18 editorial endorsement of R. Creigh Deeds for governor of Virginia made much of transportation.

There is only one honest statement a candidate can make about Virginia's transportation problem, which neither candidate has done. The statement is that there is no solution to Virginia's transportation problem that is politically or economically possible.

Let us build more roadways. There is latent demand for roadways.

Some people choose alternatives to driving because of congestion. If more roads are built to reduce traffic congestion, those who are not driving will start to do so.

In a short time, we would be back to congestion.

Let us improve mass transit. Some drivers would opt for the improved mass transit to avoid road congestion. But as soon the congestion is reduced, the latent demand would manifest, and we would be back to congestion.

Congestion could be eliminated if the cost of driving were made very high, but there is no political will to do that.

We could build enough roads to more than meet demand for years to come, but the cost would be prohibitive.

Steve A. Brown, Springfield

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