Bob McDonnell’s statement on Kaine’s transportation plan, translated into plain English.

Virginia’s future prosperity depends upon the Commonwealth having a 21st Century transportation system. Growing up in Fairfax County, and later representing Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates, I have seen firsthand the transportation challenges that we face. I believe it is imperative we modernize and improve the transportation system in the Commonwealth, and I know the Governor believes this as well. While I have worked closely and in agreement with the Governor on many important reforms for our citizens, I cannot support the Governor’s tax and spend philosophy as outlined in his transportation plan.

I seriously have no idea of what to do about the transportation crisis, and I thank God every morning that it’s not my problem.

The Governor did not make his transportation plan available to Republicans until today so I am still reviewing the details.

I am utterly unnecessary in this process.

Through all the conversations, negotiations, and debate of the past several years, the Governor has continued to rely on his belief in higher taxes with increased spending, going to the same government bureaucracies that have not delivered transportation services efficiently.

Governor Kaine thinks that we must make money to have money if we want to buy stuff. I disagree, for reasons that are really much too complex for me to explain right now, so you’ll have to trust me on this. But I’ll give you a hint: Alf Broaddus gave me his old key to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. I’ll say no more.

Further, it is unfortunate that the Governor’s plan relies on regressive taxes that place a disproportionate burden on lower and middle-class citizens.

We must raise taxes on the wealthy.

Wait. Did I say that out loud?

What has been absolutely ignored is last year’s historic increase in transportation funding. The General Assembly passed bipartisan legislation that provided for the largest infusion of new statewide funding for transportation in 22 years, and did so without a statewide tax increase.

There is no transportation crisis. I have no idea what you people are complaining about.

Why is there no discussion of increased use of public-private partnerships in the Governor’s plan? Since the revamping of the Virginia Public-Private Transportation Act in 1995, it has been woefully underutilized. Why not let willing private road contractors take more of the financial risk, and, equally, gain more of the financial rewards of building infrastructure in Virginia? Where is the vast new statewide money from last year going? Why does the Governor believe that voters will now trust that money raised by a sales tax increase in Hampton Roads, but sent to Richmond, will actually come back to them in full? With the maintenance deficit and cost overruns being such a concern, why is there no provision to improve the efficiency of VDOT? Why is there no focus on dedicating new revenues to projects with proven ability to relieve congestion? Why are congestion pricing, tolls, and other free-market solutions not being considered?

I am not aware of the most basic facts about the state’s budgeting process, and honestly, I basically slept through Mark Warner’s administration. So if somebody could refresh me here, I’d be grateful.

There is no justification for a statewide tax increase.

Oh. My. God. I am so glad I don’t have to come up with a plan of my own. Because I’ve got nothing here. We’re all keeping our fingers and toes crossed that Kaine licks this thing before the 2009 election season gets underway.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

14 replies on “Bob McDonnell’s statement on Kaine’s transportation plan, translated into plain English.”

  1. What Bob is saying is that he supports multinational mega-corporations who will come here and take over our roads and charge us huge tolls to use them.

    If this is what our Republican “leadership” has in mind, then we Republicans had better find better leaders.

    A simple gas tax increase can get the job done and Virginians can retain control of our roads. Tell these puppets of the multinational corporations to leave our roads alone. Virginia will fix our roads without selling out to the multinationals as Bob McDonnell and his ticket mates apparently have already done.

  2. As one who has leaned Rep. since 84, I can’t believe that I missed the moment that the Reps decided to borrow the “poor and middle-class are disproportionately taxed” argument from the Dems!

    With time, oil prices will take care of what new taxes will never be able to do.

  3. Not Bob’s problem? Before this thing is done, transportation funding legislation will be challenged by his base as some sort of abomination to the Right to Not Pay Taxes. At which point Bob will have to remind his rabble that they do have to pay for their roads. He will wear that dead chicken around his neck in 2009.

  4. At which point Bob will have to remind his rabble that they do have to pay for their roads.

    Will he? Pretty much ignoring reality has been a good electoral strategy, so far . . .

  5. “What has been absolutely ignored is last year’s historic increase in transportation funding.”

    I think he meant to say “virtually ignored,” as it was unfortunately not ignored by the Supreme Court of Virginia, which found the unconstitutional elements of the transportation bill to be, er, unconstitutional.

    But other than that triffling detail, it was a super great bill.

  6. Even though it seems logical, an increase in the gas tax would be unwise for any politician at this time. Perhaps the Democrats can also offer to bringing back the car tax. It may be the only chance the republicans have.

  7. Is this the same Bob McDonnell who brokered the widely praised bipartisan transportation deal that Tim Kaine butchered and doomed to failure? Yeah, I thought so.

    Kaine is a super nice guy, but unfortunately he’s been a horrible governor. His continual blunders — like this regressive tax hike — are going to do wonders for McDonnell’s campaign. I can’t wait to see Deeds or Moran run as far away from Kaine as they possibly can.

  8. This is what’s so amusing about that Republican Reality Distortion Field – not only are they deep within it, but they’re so far gone that they don’t even know how to make their BS complaints seem semi-believable. Republicans giving a damn about the regressive nature of something? Ha.

  9. Hmmm… I see opportunity for compromise. The auto registration fees stay flat for all vehicles, except those that are valued at $30,000 or more. For those vehicles, the registration fees are increased ten-fold. As much as I cringe at the “soak-the-rich” nature of this change, I think such a nod towards progressivism in tax policy would satisfy the Republican’s concerns as to where the weight of additional taxes ought to be borne.

  10. Tax increases as a rule:
    1. almost never happen during an economic downturn
    2. never happen during an election year
    2008 is currently both

    Federal taxes will go up (probably capital gains) in 2009
    State taxes will go up in 2010.(assuming another democratic governor)
    local taxes in the city will go up almost every year

  11. I’ve only once seen Bob McDonnell out in the wild, as it were. I was driving to the beach, IIRC, year before last. While I was on the new bypass around Richmond, 288, he blew by me going about 80mph in a big SUV. To my surprise, he did it again about twenty minutes later. The memory of him so blatantly violating the speed limit (one could say abusing the law) on a brand-new state highway seems especially ironic, in retrospect.

  12. One thing I think that’s missing here is the connection between roads and growth. Suburban sprawl has placed a huge burden on local infrastructure. You now also hear these stories about some people commuting from two hours away. I think Richmond has to do more to empower localities to put the cost where it belongs, on developers, and give localities more tools to manage growth. For too long, it has essentially been developers who’ve planned the way that Virginia grows, and we’re now paying the price.

    Instead, Richmond complains about transportation costs while creating a program intended to pave the rural gravel roads in Virginia. Localities that opt out of the program lose transportation dollars. Programs like this encourage suburban sprawl by creating in-roads for development in rural areas. Or, there’s the notorious bill recently that sought to limit proffers from developers. Essentially Richmond wanted to remove the ability of localities to pay for new roads neccessitated by increased development. Or, there’s the continued refusal to increase the number of years of back taxes once someone leaves the land use valuation program. All this amounts to subsidizing unmanaged growth and creating additional infrastructure costs down the road.

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