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Not so HOT lanes - Local commuters are about to be taken for a ride
Washington Times ^ | July 13, 2009

Posted on 07/13/2009 6:27:35 AM PDT by La Lydia

Virginia is trying to pull a fast one on motorists who live along the Interstate 95/395 corridor, and we all will be moving slower and paying more as a result...The latest plan effectively hands ownership of Interstate 95/395 to a foreign corporation for the next 80 years. Transurban Group, Melbourne, Australia, will lease the existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for the 64-mile stretch between Spotsylvania, Va., and the Pentagon. Transurban will be responsible for building new access ramps and performing maintenance for the lanes. Drivers interested in a congestion-free ride can pay an expected $1 - or more - per mile to use the HOT lanes while the regular lanes are gridlocked...

The devil is in the details...The Beltway gets new lane construction where it is needed most; 95/395 does not. Instead, between Garrisonville Road and the Pentagon, three lanes will be squeezed into the existing two-lane space...

The commuter who undertakes the 64-mile journey from Spotsylvania would pay a shocking $33,280 each year to use the toll lanes...common commutes from a town such as Dumfries would cost drivers $8,840 each year...adjusting upward for inflation...

...Only those who register for and install a special car-pool tracking device will be allowed into HOT lanes...Because it is in Transurban's interest to minimize the number of nonpaying customers, VDOT agreed to contract language that will actively discourage ride sharing on the Beltway....

...According to the Beltway contract, Virginia taxpayers are on the hook once again if, between now and 2087, improvements are made to free, non-tolled roads in the vicinity of the toll lanes. These agreements ensure that the toll-road company will enjoy a monopoly at taxpayer expense...free roads will be neglected and not expanded to create congestion that will force motorists into the tolled lanes...

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Front Page News; Government; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: economy; highways; i95; stategovt; transportation; va2009
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The State of Virginia is neglecting to perform a legitimate government function, that is building and maintaining highways and other transportation infrastructure, while it funds hundreds of non-essential programs and welfare schemes that are not mentioned in the Constitution. That the General Assembly handed off its authority and responsibility to the bureaucracy is a disgrace.
1 posted on 07/13/2009 6:27:35 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: La Lydia
These types of deals need to be banned at the federal level, given that they are deals with foreign companies. I'd even have states be banned from entering into such deals with out-of-state companies.

Ugh.

2 posted on 07/13/2009 6:29:37 AM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: La Lydia
Because it is in Transurban's interest to minimize the number of nonpaying customers, VDOT agreed to contract language that will actively discourage ride sharing on the Beltway....

My favorite line in the article. There goes the excuse that it will be good for the environment. In fact, they are going to encourage more travel, not less. I love government think. No logic at all.

3 posted on 07/13/2009 6:32:27 AM PDT by w1andsodidwe (Jimmy Carter(the Godfather of Terror) allowed radical Islam to get a foothold in Iran.)
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To: La Lydia
Can you imagine granting ANY company an 80-year contract, much less a foreign one? How can they possibly imagine this is to the tax payer's benefit?
4 posted on 07/13/2009 6:34:02 AM PDT by scan59 (Markets regulate better than government can.)
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To: scan59
Can you imagine granting ANY company an 80-year contract...

This is the Red Chinese model of government. I kid you not.

5 posted on 07/13/2009 6:37:04 AM PDT by GingisK
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To: GingisK
Red China? Napoleonic France was part of Red China? And Nederland ~ 90% of all the land is leased from the government.

Did you perhaps get it backward ~ that Red China adopted a pre-existing land management system well known in Europe for CENTURIES.

They do it this way in Louisiana too ~ 90 year land leases are common.

6 posted on 07/13/2009 6:41:51 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: La Lydia

WoW..... Did Rick Perry move to VA?


7 posted on 07/13/2009 6:44:15 AM PDT by deport
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To: muawiyah

Regardless of that, it is STILL the model used in China. I do not approve of the government leasing MY land to a foriegn government, especially since it was MY tax money that built those roads in the first place.


8 posted on 07/13/2009 6:45:16 AM PDT by GingisK
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To: scan59

Gov. Mitch Daniels-R leased our toll road 80/90 to a foreign country for eighty years. As of three weeks ago I have heard his name mentioned for the 2012 presidential primary.


9 posted on 07/13/2009 6:47:03 AM PDT by knife6375 (US Navy Veteran)
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To: w1andsodidwe
It is actually going to make things much, much worse: "Because it is in Transurban's interest to minimize the number of nonpaying customers, VDOT agreed to contract language that will actively discourage ride sharing on the Beltway. If the rate of carpooling actually increases beyond a predetermined level, the state (i.e., taxpayers) must pay monetary penalties to the Australian company."

You have to wonder about the sanity of the bureaucrats who agreed to this disaster.

10 posted on 07/13/2009 6:48:34 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: knife6375

Forgot to mention this is in Indiana.
Sorry


11 posted on 07/13/2009 6:49:04 AM PDT by knife6375 (US Navy Veteran)
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To: pnh102

The feds passed the legislation that “paved” the way for this.


12 posted on 07/13/2009 6:49:10 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: La Lydia
The fundamental VDOT error is that the I95/I395/I495 corridors are so congested that only actions that RELIEVE CONGESTION can be tolerated and this plan does not do that.

Virginia forgot to build all the other roads needed to bypass these corridors, and the state will have to do that first before signing over a single square foot of highway to anyone else.

I would suggest a new major elevated thoroughfare with limited access between I-66 and I-395 roughly where Glebe Road is today.

We also need about 15 new crossing points over I495, and Little River Turnpike should be modified into an 8 lane limited access combination expresslane/access road system ~ preferably from Centerville to Annandale.

Projects that aid only the wealthy in getting to and from DC should definitely be put on a backburner until the above named projects are completed.

Oh, yeah, and we need a couple more bridges over the Potomac into DC, and at least 3 bridges from Fairfax County to Montgomery County ~

13 posted on 07/13/2009 6:50:11 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: GingisK
Actually, your tax dollars didn't build these highways ~ mine did.

Although HOV lanes are highly useful in this very congested area, combination toll-road HOV operations simply don't compute.

We've always had this problem with VOT. They envision Virginia as consisting mostly of open country with natural corridors controlled by mountain ranges. Northern Virginia is the other way around ~ it's not been open country for many years, and the natural corridors are controlled by the concussion rings put in place by a major meteor strike millions of years ago.

If the new toll-road HOV operation were to be made up of entirely new pavement along a new route, it might make sense and could even attract some traffic ~ if the drivers could get to it, which they can't because we do not have a secondary road "system" in this area.

14 posted on 07/13/2009 6:55:20 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
We also need about 15 new crossing points over I495,...

Absolutely! It was dumber than dirt to build the Beltway with so few non-intersecting crossovers - if you work ANYWHERE inside the Beltway, you're stuck on the same few roads that lead to interchanges whether you actually need to be ON the B'way or not. I believe there are only two crossovers in Virginia that don't have interchanges - Idlewood over in Falls Church and one in Springfield whose name escapes me.

15 posted on 07/13/2009 6:56:53 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: knife6375

This is one Virginian who voted with his feet two years ago. Before leaving I took the 80 mile drive from Springfield to Ashland on I-95 on a clear Saturday morning.It took four hours.

Virginia has rapidly moved from one of the most conservative states in the nation to Massachusetts south. Fairfax county, where I lived for more than three decades along with the adjoining towns of Alexandria and Arlington put the knife to a once wonderful state.


16 posted on 07/13/2009 6:58:05 AM PDT by billhilly
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To: La Lydia
The "feds" who passed the legislation are the Congresscritters who live out in Northern Virginia who envision having a quick ride to Capitol Hill every morning.

They, of course, are nuts. This plan goes into effect and grinds I-95/et al to a halt violence in this region can be expected on a scale not seen since the Civil War.

17 posted on 07/13/2009 6:58:13 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

A couple of more bridges into DC? I’d say four or five might do it. Also, try driving from Virginia to Maryland via 395 and 295. You have to get off 395, cross the bridge at Pennsylvania Avenue and go through two stoplights in order to get onto 295. It is worse coming back, because you have to drive all the way to the Howard exit and go through two lights to get back to 395. Why is there no direct access? There should be an access road from 295 to 395 southbound at Pennsylvania Avenue. The alternative to all this is taking the Beltway and going 30 miles out of your way from, say, Crystal City to Laurel. To my personal knowledge, they have been “improving” 295 and New York Avenue (Route 50) since 1994. It is still a rolling disaster. I realize this isn’t Virginia, but the same thinking applies: they spend tax money on all kinds of ridiculous programs but the roads in OUR NATION’S CAPITAL suck.


18 posted on 07/13/2009 7:00:13 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: nina0113
Backlick Road ~ which I remember seeing first as a gravel road ~

BTW, those other overpasses, et al, weren't built because there was nothing out here. Then, one day, Maryland changed all it's property tax laws and linked them into the income tax system and Northern Virginia became a very popular place to live and have businesses.

Maryland hasn't had much economic growth since then, plus they only elect corrupt politicians to office over there.

BTW, Springfield also has the COMMERCE STREET bridge over I-95, and the Spfld.Bps (Springfield Bypass) bridge.

19 posted on 07/13/2009 7:04:08 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: billhilly

Tales me about 35 minutes to do the Springfield to Ashland trip ~ can’t imagine 4 hours unless you made a wrong turn in that mess up near Reston or something.


20 posted on 07/13/2009 7:05:34 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: scan59
I predict that none of these companies will even come close to seeing the end of these long-term contracts to lease/maintain highways.

What these foreign companies haven't figured out is this: a lawsuit-happy nation that implicitly encourages illegal immigration and goes out of its way to provide all public amenities to them is a terrible place to have any legal responsibility for a highway.

Just think about the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis a couple of years ago. If that road had been leased by a private company, it would have been out of business by now under the weight of all the lawsuits.

21 posted on 07/13/2009 7:09:36 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (God is great, beer is good . . . and people are crazy.)
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To: muawiyah

Actually, the legislation was passed at the behest of Western states, such as Texas and Colorado, who wanted it. The members of Congress who live in NoVA mostly live in the McClean area and close-in Arlington, and they will be screwed by this too, because they depend on the nightmare that is 66, Arlington Blvd. or the Parkway to get into DC, and then have to drive across town. There is no “quick ride” to Capitol Hill from anywhere in the area unless you live there. Driving through town is impossible, and if you’re in Virginia, you have to come across the congested bridges and to make it even uglier, they are doing upkeep on the 14th St. Bridge until next May. Forget about going to the Hill from Maryland in any sane way other than Metro. I fully expect to get on the Beltway someday and get stuck in apocalyptic gridlock.


22 posted on 07/13/2009 7:12:10 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: muawiyah

80 miles in 35 minutes on the most congested Interstate Highway in America. You are either delusional or a helicopter pilot.


23 posted on 07/13/2009 7:13:58 AM PDT by billhilly
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To: scan59

Arguably, a state assembly may not be empowered by its constitution to commit state resources for a period longer than it is elected to serve.


24 posted on 07/13/2009 7:14:24 AM PDT by Tax Government (Sarah NOW.)
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To: La Lydia
There a good number of Congresscritters who live along the Springfield to Burke corridor. I've ridden in to work with many of them (from the Computer Pickup Points on Old Keenemill Road).

Their quick trip to work depends on being good citizens. The combo toll-road HOV lane deal will cause them lots of trouble.

25 posted on 07/13/2009 7:14:42 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: billhilly

There are secret routes in these high places known only to the natives. (And it’s not 80 miles).


26 posted on 07/13/2009 7:15:32 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: pnh102

I was amazed when I was out in L.A. a few years ago. People actually obey the HOV lanes out there. Here in Memphis everybody rides in the HOV lane (there is only about 8 miles of HOV lane here and that’s 4 miles going west and 4 miles going east) but it’s a joke here. It is paid for by our taxes so we feel free to drive in that lane at any time. I even jumped in the HOV lane out on “the 10” east of L.A. I couldn’t believe the horrible traffic there and there was an open lane (HOV) to the left of the standstill traffic in the other lanes. Those poor people were like sheep!


27 posted on 07/13/2009 7:16:23 AM PDT by Married with Children
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To: muawiyah

Since the work began on the 14th St. Bridge, no amount of good citizenship is effective. Do you ride or drive the slug lines? There are many members of Congress I would not allow in my car no matter how long it takes to get to work.


28 posted on 07/13/2009 7:18:01 AM PDT by La Lydia
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To: La Lydia
One day I was cruising along Franconia Road on my regular trip from work (5904 Richmond) to home, and a light freezing rain hit so fast the traffic continued to flow even though no one had any traction.

I resolved to pull over into Springfield Mall ~ which I did about 5 hours later.

So, yeah, an apocalyptic traffic jam ~ seen it ~ in that place ~ that ice stopped everything for 20 miles each way on I-95.

29 posted on 07/13/2009 7:19:10 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: La Lydia
Congress critters tend to have roomy, comfortable automobiles. I was part of the negotiating team that got the Spfld/DC HOV pickup operations underway. The guys on the otherside of the table were Jack Harrity and Marion Barry (in different places of course).

So, no, I never picked people up either ~ just hitched rides!

30 posted on 07/13/2009 7:20:59 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

he was talking Ashland, near Richmond, not Ashburn, near Sterling. And yes, I have done that trip in 90 minutes or 3 hours. depends on the day. and never take Route 1 as an alternative, it sucks more.


31 posted on 07/13/2009 7:25:49 AM PDT by vin-one (REMEMBER the WTC !!!!!!!!)
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To: muawiyah

According to Google Maps, it’s 82.8 miles with an average driving time of 1 hr. and 22 mins.


32 posted on 07/13/2009 7:26:00 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: Hatteras

Ashburn VA is just North of Dulles airport. Take 7100 (Springfield Bypass) to the Greenway (267) ~ Takes about half an hour on Saturday morning.


33 posted on 07/13/2009 7:30:16 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: vin-one

I always think of Ashland as in KY and that’s about 10 hours on a good day ~ when you cut through West Virginia.


34 posted on 07/13/2009 7:31:33 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Alberta's Child
I fully expect that the foreign lessee factored this into the equation and made the state either grant immunity or assume risk for incidents like the I-35W bridge. Big government is fond of exempting itself from rules and risks which they impose on others. It only stands to reason that “partnerships” which provide it a revenue stream would insist on the same types of protection.
35 posted on 07/13/2009 7:36:22 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or, are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
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To: deport

Sure does smell like the Trans Texas Corridor consortium has targeted another hapless state...

Boy, you guys in Virginia are in for a real treat...Yer gonna love this...

Watch where the funding goes...Who is targeted for the contracts...Watch the work that will be done in the Virginia to the state transportation code (under the radar) to setup the beauracracy, fees, easement utilization, and final leasing of the roadway and who will be truely benefitting from this landgrab by your government...

Watch for Community/Comprehensive Development Agreements (called CDA’s) and companion Public/Private Development Agreements (or PPA’s)...Depending on how they word it obviously...

Folks in Virginia need to beat this thing to a pulp...Anf they need to get on it right now...And do not let up...

And in the end the folks tht support this will say the naysayers only want to raise taxes...Tell them to shove that BS where the sun doesn’t shine...

This is a really great opportunity to show another state government how effective and tenacious grassroots activism can be...And they hate it...

This is another thing we all need to be talking about and keeping the pressure on those who want to carve up our countries soverienty and security...


36 posted on 07/13/2009 7:37:12 AM PDT by stevie_d_64
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To: muawiyah
Actually, your tax dollars didn't build these highways ~ mine did.

You must be under the mistaken notion that there is no Federal money in your roads. There is always Federal money in "Interstate" roads.

37 posted on 07/13/2009 7:40:32 AM PDT by GingisK
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To: muawiyah
"We also need about 15 new crossing points over I495, and Little River Turnpike should be modified into an 8 lane limited access combination expresslane/access road system ~ preferably from Centerville to Annandale."

Check this out to raise your blood pressure: Link

The "Monticello Freeway" (Braddock Road) would have basically been what you suggested. It's amazing what officials pissed away here. And BTW, no one addresses the traffic tie-ups thanks to the HOT construction. 495 is now messed up almost every day from just north of 236 to try to get to 66 starting around 2:00. Same for coming south from Tysons.

38 posted on 07/13/2009 7:43:35 AM PDT by mikey_hates_everything
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To: Vigilanteman

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I don’t think a government can ever grant “immunity” up front like that. The state may indemnify the lessee in certain cases of liability, but I don’t see how a blanket indemnification could ever stand up in a court of law.


39 posted on 07/13/2009 7:45:26 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (God is great, beer is good . . . and people are crazy.)
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To: La Lydia

It is scary and disappointing that a state would prostitute to a foreign company pieces of a road that is owned BY THE PEOPLE. Did the people of the state approve this? This is not right and should be banned. If I lived in this state I would consider moving even in these hard times. Unbelievable and sickening.


40 posted on 07/13/2009 7:47:16 AM PDT by Pilated
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To: muawiyah
Read the post for a change. He said Ashland and meant Ashland. You must be one of those people who know only Northern Virginia; anything mentioned beyond is misunderstood and is puzzling. Even when someone corrected you, you seemed to still stick with Ashburn.

My suggestion is to ride I95 down to Ashland and see a part of Virginia you know nothing about.

41 posted on 07/13/2009 7:47:52 AM PDT by Dave W
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To: mikey_hates_everything
Intriguingly it was the Democrats in Fairfax county who trashed a perfectly reasonable expressway plan. For a variety of reasons they didn't think people needed to have roads to drive to work.

That level of stupidity is still present among local Democrats in this area. I think they're mostly the dregs from New Jersey who couldn't steal enough to keep up with the neighbors.

42 posted on 07/13/2009 7:48:02 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Dave W
Yup, talking about Northern Virginia, scanning fast, make mistake. You want to talk about Richmond, talk about Richmond, not Springfield.

I'm right here at the intersection of all these highways. Takes me under an hour to get to downtown Richmond though.

43 posted on 07/13/2009 7:49:16 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: La Lydia
$33,280 each year

It would be cheaper than that to fly a private airplane on that route at 3 times the speed with no drunks, cell phone drivers, or speed traps.

44 posted on 07/13/2009 7:51:45 AM PDT by Reeses (Leftism is powered by the evil force of envy.)
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To: muawiyah

“I think they’re mostly the dregs from New Jersey who couldn’t steal enough to keep up with the neighbors.”

Bingo! Look up Audrey Moore.


45 posted on 07/13/2009 7:54:16 AM PDT by mikey_hates_everything
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To: muawiyah
"Ashburn VA is just North of Dulles airport. Take 7100 (Springfield Bypass) to the Greenway (267) ~ Takes about half an hour on Saturday morning. "

Ummm... you said... "Tales me about 35 minutes to do the Springfield to Ashland trip..."

46 posted on 07/13/2009 7:54:58 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: deport

Fast Eddie Rendell tried or is trying to do the same thing with the Pennsylvania turnpike. So far, state GOP lawmakers have stopped him cold.


47 posted on 07/13/2009 7:55:35 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: La Lydia

You can have socialism or you can have good, free, roads, but you can’t have both.


48 posted on 07/13/2009 7:56:05 AM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: Reeses

But you’d get shot down over the Pentagon.


49 posted on 07/13/2009 7:58:03 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner (Sarah Palin has crossed the Rubicon!)
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To: muawiyah
Wow. You must drive fast to make it from Springfield to downtown Richmond in under an hour. It is about almost 100 miles from Springfield to Richmond and with the traffic on I95 from Springfield to Richmond often stop and go to Fredericksburg, you would have to be wearing a jet pack.

I make the trip 2 to 3 times a month and know you can't do it in under an hour unless it is 2 am and you are driving 90+ miles an hour.

50 posted on 07/13/2009 7:58:16 AM PDT by Dave W
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