Monday, June 16, 2008

Transportation Funding - Thanks For Nothing Delegates!

After three years of playing politics with transportation funding in Virginia, the chickens have come home to roost for Virginia Republicans who control the House of Delegates, and the power to raise revenue.

Last Friday, VDOT released it's budget for road construction 2009 to 2014. Roadbuilding is expensive, and then roads have to be maintained. Maintenance of existing roads takes precedence, and when funds are short, roads don't get built. The shortfall was $1.1 billion for the 6 year plan and VDOT has cut some important new road projects in Rockingham. There is no money for widening of Port Republic Road from the Harrisonburg City limit, to the new hospital.

And funding for the Southeast Connector in Rockingham County - no money.

Congratulations to the City of Harrisonburg - proper financial planning will allow them to complete Port Road improvements, and their portion of the SE Connector is under construction. The County Board of Supervisors have gone begging to the Governor. Hey gentleman, contact the House of Delegates, you know the legislative body tasked with raising revenues, and demand that fiscal sanity prevail in the Republican caucus. Good luck with that. Delegate Chris Saxman (R-McCain) says:
"The governor decided to decree that the budget for these transportation projects is $1.1 billion short," the delegate said. "He made recession-based revenue assumptions, and I think he made incorrect assumptions."
In addition to not believing in taxes, Delegate Saxman doesn't believe we are in a recession.

"The governor is looking for a reason for a tax increase. He's doing that, in my opinion, for his legacy, to make himself seem more popular than he really was," he added.
In what world does raising taxes make someone 'more popular'? It may be the adult, responsible thing to do, but it is never a happy thing.

The smackdown was swift and to the point - delivered by Gordon Hickey (Gov. Kaine's Press Secretary):
"That sounds to me like someone who's looking for an excuse not to do the job," Hickey said. "We have a real shortfall of $1.1 billion, and the only political maneuvering is being done by people who don't want to do what the taxpayers want them to do, which is take care of business."
So Delegates Saxman, Landes, Cline; and Senator Obenshain, what will it be? Will you take care of the peoples business, or will you choose to cozy up to lobbyist Grover Norquist and his Anti-Tax Lobby? When will the pandering end? It's a tough job, and we expect you to sometimes make tough, unpopular decisions...or get out of the kitchen.

1 comment:

Bubby said...

How could I forget Delegate Lohr? Probably because he had the most forgettable suggestion for solving the transportation funding shortfall - localities should just tax themselves to pay for roads!

What a brilliant 18th century idea Matt! I can just imagine the 12 toll booths between downtown Harrisonburg and Broadway. Could I pay my toll with pumpkins?