Battle lines being drawn on transportation debate
Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation funding plan is on life support in the Virginia General Assembly, and the Republican is pointing the finger at Senate Democrats, who voted en masse to block the package in a series of votes on Tuesday.
“With their no votes today, these senators chose to vote against $1.8 billion for new construction, over $500 million in additional funding for transit, and over $270 million for passenger rail,” McDonnell said in a statement after the Senate votes. “Just last year, the Senate Democrats used the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road, and their demands for additional funding to mitigate the costs of Phase II of the Dulles Metrorail Project, as their stated reason to repeatedly kill a budget. Now, just one year later, those very same senators today rejected the $300 million in this bill to lower the costs of the Dulles project, thus ensuring higher tolls for drivers in Northern Virginia.
“There is no defense for such an about face. Clearly, this was all about partisanship, not policy. Virginians deserve far better from their elected officials,” McDonnell said.
House Democratic Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) responded in kind, accusing McDonnell and legislative Republicans of having played partisan politics on the transportation issue from the get-go.
“We have been stressing for weeks that his proposal was going to be difficult to pass because it did not provide sufficient monies, did not provide them quickly enough, and relied on revenue generated from decisions in Washington that might never occur. At this point, the only way to get a plan that can pass is for the governor to sit down with leadership in both parties, and develop a compromise that will work for Virginia’s families and businesses,” Toscano said.
“Good ideas have been offered by both Republican and Democratic legislators that would finally provide the revenue that our crisis in transportation demands,” said Toscano. “The solution is in sight, if the Governor will seize the opportunity to build the consensus necessary to pass a good bill.”