Despite push to defund, power lines will go underground in woodbridge headlines insidenova.com electricity prices by state

But the two remained the only supporting votes for the measure, with other supervisors saying the lines should go underground to approve the appearance of the Route 1 corridor and spark new business investment in the county’s main eastern gateway – a revitalization effort more than two decades in the making.

In presenting his resolution, Candland questioned whether the county should spend $12 million on burying power lines when things he called “higher priorities,” remain unfunded, including additions to local schools, a needed expansion of the county jail and new buses for the local public transit service.

Candland also strove to put the expense in context, arguing that it’s about the same amount of money the county is spending to construct each of its two new libraries – located in Gainesville and Montclair – which were funded by voter-approved bonds and delayed for eight years by the recession.

“The process has to be better. We should make it as difficult as possible for one supervisor to come and take $12.1 million dollars out of our reserve funds and put it to something it wasn’t meant to go for,” Candland said. “Do we spend, in the end, $12.1 million dollars on a beautification project, or start to address the more critical issues that have largely been ignored?”

“This was a choice to take advantage of an opportunity,” Dean said. “This redevelopment project will not happen again in the lifetime of anybody in this room. I hope when we get the chance to spend $150 million to revitalize the Route 28 corridor in Yorkshire, we will be as thoughtful and do it the right way.”

Supervisor Marty Nohe, R-Coles, whose district includes Va. 28, noted that county leaders had singled out Va. 28 near Manassas and U.S. 1 in Triangle and north Woodbridge as the county’s three main revitalization corridors in 2005, which is why spending the money to bury power lines to beautify the area makes sense.

My guess is there’s quite a bit of overlap between the groups who opposed the school design with the pools and those who support a more cautious budgetary approach in general. Frivolous spending shouldn’t be done ever, of course, but with this area looking at a long, rough period of diminished federal spending (that will probably last longer than the lives of anyone reading this), it is even more important now to question every expenditure. (Johns didn’t think so, and he has decided not to seek re-election to the school board – it’s a reasonable guess that he determined he couldn’t win again.)

Is $12 million to bury power lines frivolous? That’s where the debate is, but it is no secret that the money was planned for that expenditure in strange fashion, at the same time the county executive and chairman of the supervisory board were arguing we need more property tax revenue to handle other immediate shortfalls. It looked like a political favor for the Woodbridge supervisor serving as the "henchman" on the board during budget discussions.

From my perspective, Rt. 1 will be difficult to revitalize, with power lines above ground or below. You can’t move the less affluent to other neighborhoods, and as long as they dominate that area, the businesses that come to the strip will be those who cater to less affluent shoppers. Discounters, etc., which don’t see the profit margins to pay higher rents, which allow landlords to keep areas looking nice. That’s why Marumsco Plaza looks like it does – not a lack of public money, but a stripmall of low-rent store fronts. And even if you could get all those residents to move somewhere else, in a few years that place would look like Rt. 1 does now. I don’t mean to sound cold and uncaring, but I really don’t think the problem with Rt. 1 is the power lines – unsightly as they are.