by James A. Bacon
Terry McAuliffe doesn’t just fill the room — he fills the banquet hall. He’s loud, he’s animated, he’s funny and he’s prone to superlatives. Economic development success, he proclaims, comes from superior salesmanship and the art of the deal. Indeed, if he doffed a wig of thinning blond, slicked-back hair, you’d be hard pressed to tell him apart from Donald Trump.
The governor regaled the audience at the 2015 Governor’s Transportation Conference in Virginia Beach around noon today. Among some of the more notable quotes:
Referring to Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, McAuliffe said with typical enthusiasm: “He’s the greatest transportation secretary in the history of Virginia!”
Similarly, John Rinehart, CEO of the Port of Virginia is “the greatest port director in America!” The recent increase in container traffic, the governor added, is “an absolutely extraordinary record! … Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to have the greatest port in America!”
Touting the benefits of the Interstate 95 tolled HOT lane project, he proclaimed the awesomeness of private-sector concessionaire Transurban. “Give Transurban a great round of applause!” he urged the audience.
As for those opposed to paying tolls on the proposed Interstate 66 megaproject in Northern Virginia, they’re not just misguided or mistaken. What they’re saying about tolls is “an absolute lie! It’s a fiction! It’s misleading to voters!”
McAuliffe said he has probably spent more time promoting Virginia overseas than any other governor. Ever. And one could surmise from his remarks that he’s given foreigners the hardest sell. He told a story about talking to some wine stewards in France. “I spent an hour convincing them that Virginia wines are better than French wines.”
The governor has made self-driving cars and unmanned aerial vehicles a major economic development priority for Virginia. His goal, he said: “I want a clone in every home in Virginia. And I wanted it manufactured in Virginia!”
Agree with him or disagree, McAuliffe is never dull.There are currently no comments highlighted.