McAuliffe highlights bipartisan roads compromise, differences with Cuccinelli at campaign stop

terry mcauliffe2A bipartisan effort to improve Virginia’s deteriorating transportation infrastructure is a key difference in the gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

“For too long, political gridlock in Richmond led to traffic gridlock here in Northern Virginia but Gov. McDonnell and Democrats finally found a compromise that will improve transportation,” said McAuliffe at a campaign stop in Arlington on Tuesday. “I want to applaud Gov. McDonnell and the Democrats here today for coming together to put Virginia ahead of partisanship and ideology.”

Cuccinelli opposed the bipartisan deal that lowered the state gas tax but provided for more roads maintenance and construction revenues through increases in taxes on sales generally and specifically on sales of automobiles.

The initiative is the first substantive reform to transportation funding since 1986 and is considered a crowning achievement to McDonnell, a Republican who succeeded where his two most recent predecessors, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Democrats who now represent Virginia in the United States Senate, had famously failed.

That Cuccinelli, a darling of the Tea Party far right, was critical of the compromise because it raised taxes is something that McAuliffe and Democrats hope to hang like an anchor around his political future.

Three General Assembly Democrats joined McAuliffe at the Arlington campaign event to help him make that point.

“We’ve all disagreed with Gov. McDonnell on certain issues. But this was a time we came together. As with any compromise, none of us got all we wanted,” said State Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston. “Mainstream Republicans realized Cuccinelli was an impediment to progress.”

“The person who was a constant thorn in trying to get this done was Ken Cuccinelli.  How somebody who comes from Northern Virginia, which has the largest traffic jams in the country, could work incessantly against anything passing is beyond me,” said State Sen. Dick Saslaw, D-Springfield.

“Ken Cuccinelli has literally been trying to spike this compromise, this coming together on the transportation plan, upwards of three times throughout the process.  Thats not what we need in Virginia.  This is a purple state and we need constructive solutions for our problems in the Commonwealth,” said Del. Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington.

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