The results from the county’s annual citizen satisfaction survey are in, Brandon Shulleeta wrote in yesterday’s Progress, and the surprising news is that 70% of those surveyed “somewhat” or “strongly” support spending more on roads, with 49% saying they’d pay more taxes to make that possible. In past years, this survey asked people what they’d like to see the county do more of, but didn’t also ask if they were willing to pay for those services, so this new approach marks an improvement. Other notable numbers include that 93% of citizens are satisfied with services and that 58% believe that real estate assessments are done fairly. The complete report won’t come out for another couple of months.
10 thoughts on “Half of Albemarle Supports a Road Tax”
Last I checked, 49% is not a majority.
D’oh—right you are. When I’d started writing this, based on my initial, quick reading of the DP article, I’d believed that a large majority supported a road tax, when in fact a large majority support more spending, while just shy of a majority supports more taxation. I realized my mistake two sentences into writing this up, corrected my wording, but failed to notice my erroneous headline. I’ve fixed it now, though—thank you!
Actually, the way I read it, a slight majority supports more taxation for transportation needs:
“Of those who responded to a question of whether they’d be willing to pay taxes to fund transportation, 48.8 percent said ‘yes’ and 9.4 percent gave a conditional ‘yes.’ About 40 percent said ‘no.'”
In other words, 48.8 9.4 in the yes category (though some are conditional yeses) and 40 in the no category.
“Of those who responded to a question of whether they’d be willing to pay taxes to fund transportation,..,” The question doesn’t make any sense. We already pay taxes to fund transportation. What else are we going to use for transportation funding, tolls? Maybe many of the responders would have responded differently if asked, “Would you support raising the sales tax rate (or real estate tax rate, gasoline tax) in order to provide millions more from local sources to pay for transportation projects?” Then ask the same question but substitute in “transit” for “transportation.” I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a disconnect in the understanding by newcomers as to what the surveyor intended to ask. Their knowledge of funding may be based upon how transportation is funed in the locale they came from.
Also, the DP never said how many households there are in the county and how many were surveyed. The best way to determine people’s desires in the matter is to have a referendum on raising the local sales tax 1%, which is estimated to bring in $26M from the county and city combined. The survey didn’t ask people how much money that wanted to add to local transportation efforts yearly, either.
A county person (?) said, in effect, he was surprised at “the number of people willing to endure a rise in taxes for road improvement.”
When a politician expresses surprise (and by my sense – gratifiction-) at a close percentage figure,in favor of a tax increase, I want a recount.
gratification – my bad – although gratifiction may find a niche.
Well, it was done by the Center for Survey Research at the Weldon Cooper Center—it’s going to be an externally-valid sample, presumably at least 600 houses, preferably closer to 800.
It might have—these are just the preliminary results. No doubt they’ll release the full instrument for public review, as they do every year. But I’m not sure that it’s a really useful question, though. Few people would have the faintest idea of how to answer that question. It’s not that I don’t think it’s worth trying, but I’d have a tough time envisioning how to get a useful response.
So build the damn bypass, make it a toll road, and then talk about taxes. Let all those good people from Lynchburg and points South who say the current Rt 29 situation is killing their economy pay for our transportation needs. It amazes me how the local governments in Central Virginia seem to default to raising existing or creating new taxes anytime they want something. They never seem to even consider the numerous avenues of soft money that’s out there for the taking.
“Well, it was done by the Center for Survey Research at the Weldon Cooper Center—it’s going to be an externally-valid sample, presumably at least 600 houses, preferably closer to 800.” I’m sure that the survey may be within statistical reasonableness but I’m not convinced that those numbers represent a true representative sampling. The city has a population of around 40,000 with 16,000 househods. The county has at least 85,000, so I would imagine that it has at least 30,000 households. I would also like to know how many of those surveyed plan to be here in the next five years. Most students will not and there are 20,000 of them in the city and county.
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