Guess which member of the Republican Party establishment is not yet jumping on board the legislative compromise crafted to restructure Virginia’s transformation funding mix… Ken Cuccinelli, attorney general and presumed Republican candidate for governor.
While applauding Governor Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly for taking action to address Virginia’s serious transportation issues, Cuccinelli did not endorse the product in a press release issued this morning. He urged the legislature to give the bill a “thorough review” before voting on it.
Quoth the Cooch: “If reports are correct, this new bill contemplates a massive tax increase. In these tough economic times, I do not believe Virginia’s middle class families can afford massive tax increases, and I cannot support legislation that would ask the taxpayers to shoulder an even heavier burden than they are already carrying, especially when the government proposes to do so little belt tightening in other areas of the budget.”
Cuccinelli opposes tax hikes. No surprise there. Here’s the stunner: Addressing the component of the compromise that would raise more revenue for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, he said, “If localities are given more authority to address their most urgent transportation needs, that would be an element that I strongly support, and it would be an element that addresses one of the most fundamental disconnects in Virginia transportation today: the one between those responsible for land use planning and those responsible for transportation planning. ” (My emphasis.)
OMG! Cuccinelli actually acknowledges the link between transportation and land use!! I’ve lost my bearings. I’m staggering with disbelief. Things fall apart. He is absolutely correct that the transportation-land use connection is critical, but this is the first time I’ve heard him utter such a thought, and it is language that has been totally missing from the McDonnell administration, which has hewed to the “pragmatic” model of just getting projects done — whether the projects are economically justified or not.
For those with short memories, the last governor to talk about the connection between transportation and land use was Democrat Tim Kaine. Hmmm. I wonder what Terry McAuliffe thinks of the legislation.
Update: Why has Terry McAuliffe’s campaign website not posted a press release since October 10, 2012? And why doesn’t the www.terrymcauliffe.com splash page link to anything on the site? Just asking.
Update: McAuliffe supports the plan, according to the Virginian-Pilot. McAuliffe said the compromise plan “would provide funding to improve our transportation system and keep Virginia competitive.” He doesn’t like the $200 million diverted from the General Fund but, “More inaction is not an option. Inaction on transportation has meant that our families have been stuck in traffic, companies have seen their products delayed and the Commonwealth has seen our competitiveness reduced.” Hat tip: Don Rippert.