Manassas Park delays decision on whether to endorse referendum

One of Prince William County’s top elected officials urged Manassas Park officials Tuesday night to endorse the sales tax referendum on the ballot this November in Northern Virginia.

Prince William County Clerk of Courts David C. Mabie, who is considering a run for the Virginia Senate next year, told City Council members that voters in the region desperately need the guidance of their elected officials.

Those in government, he said, are better informed of the benefits to transportation that an increase in the sales tax would bring.

“I think it is crucial that the leadership take a stand,” Mabie said.

Speaking for the council, Vice Mayor Kevin Brendel thanked Mabie for coming. But council members stayed quiet on whether they will endorse the referendum.

The council plans to vote on the issue next month.

Of the nine jurisdictions affected by the referendum, governing bodies in only four –Manassas, Alexandria, Leesburg and Fairfax County –have chosen so far to endorse the referendum.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has deferred a decision on endorsement until September.

If passed in November, the referendum would raise the sales tax in the region from 4.5 percent to 5 percent in order to fund new road and mass transit projects.

The referendum is strongly opposed by anti-tax and environmental groups.

Mabie warned the City Council on Tuesday night not to listen to the arguments offered by the referendum’s opponents.

He told the council that the state government in Richmond has no extra money to give to transportation projects.

And with only 25 percent of state delegates and senators coming from Northern Virginia, the present funding formula, he said, will not change with out the referendum’s passage.

Mabie mentioned how he recently read how fast food chains in the region are opening earlier to serve commuters who are traveling as early as 5 a.m. to beat rush-hour traffic.

“If this referendum doesn’t pass, they’re going to get up even earlier,” he said.

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