Day #035: Reduced ticket prices for counties who fund infrastructure

Cheaper tickets to city-based events are the least residents could ask for after footing the bill for some of Richmond’s most visible infrastructure.

Inspired by Michael Bierut’s 100 Day Project, 100 Days to a Better RVA strives to introduce and investigate unique ideas to improving the city of Richmond. View the entire project here and the intro here.

  • Idea: Reduced ticket prices for city residents attending baseball games.
  • Difficulty: 1 — It would be as simple as adjusting prices and checking addresses.

Richmond isn’t like Chesterfield County or Henrico County. While the suburbs of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area have larger populations and are more affluent, RVA has the undeniable responsibility and burden of regional leadership.

That leadership is a service provided to the entire region but funded largely through the residential and personal property taxes1 of a minority of citizens. The city not only funds parts of this regional leadership but also some roads, police, and other services for commuting workers.

What input should the suburbs have in this regional leadership and what should their financial contribution to its execution be? This is a complicated question that most2 cities across the country have wrestled with since the end of WWII and the beginning of sprawl and white fight. Richmond has never had an effective response.

Formalized attempts at regionalism have been limited.3 But, for now, the city could do something as simple as offer reduced prices to city residents attending events at Richmond CenterStage, the proposed Shockoe Bottom baseball stadium, and proposed slavery museum. The counties could also earn the right to reduced prices for their residents with financial contributions.

Detroit and its suburbs did something similar when they approved a property tax to help fund the incredible Detroit Institute of the Arts. Residents of every supporting county now get free access to the museum.

In the case of the $79.6 million Mayor Jones hopes to spend on the Shockoe Bottom development plan, the ticket prices would sweeten the deal ever so slightly for the opposition that has mounted. Furthermore, it offers a small incentive for the suburbs to make a financial contribution.

The counties undoubtedly benefit from the regional leadership of Richmond. Companies want to be here. The capitol, courts, and Federal Reserve are all here. The city is a cultural hub full of arts and restaurants unmatched in the region, but the scars left by sprawl will figuratively and literally–in the case of highways–never fully heal. For now, we can build something better than before while cutting those who pay for it a little break every now and then.

Love this idea? Think it’s terrible? Have one that’s ten times better? Head over to the 100 Days to a Better RVA Facebook page and join in the conversation.

Photo by: julietakespictures

  1. Commuters make some contribution through property taxes at businesses and the sales/meals tax. 
  2. Nashville, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis all absorbed their counties four decades ago. The results have been mixed. 
  3. The Richmond Metropolitan Authority undoubtedly tries to address some of these issues, but its main priority since its inception has been freeways–thoroughfares that fueled Richmond as the city became more segregated racially, economically, politically, and culturally. 
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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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