We're Up Against
faces a $100 billion - with a "b" -
shortfall in transportation funding over the next 20
years. What do our presumptive gubernatorial
candidates have to offer?
is education. Transportation
is health care. It’s
how you get there and how they get to you.
Transportation is access to recreation.
It’s what brings everything we ate for
breakfast, what we put on today.”
Virginia Transportation Commissioner Philip
Shucet, The Free Lance-Star.
round a number off so that it is nice and tidy.
One hundred billion dollars. It looks like this: $100,000,000,000.
That’s over $13,000 for every man, woman,
and child who calls Virginia
the size of the transportation funding shortage
we’re facing in Virginia
over the next 20 years.
one is not going to go away.
The needs have been studied and documented to
facts are pretty stark.
There is very little disagreement across the
political spectrum on what these needs, these facts,
the next six years, we have identified construction
needs of approximately $600 million dollars —
projects already in the state’s Six-Year Plan —
and $22 million that we can spend.
And what is the general reaction to that
fact? The Virginia
legislature stripped funding OUT of the plan this
voters in Hampton Roads and
roared ‘NO!’ to regional transportation tax
increases last year.
everyone in government in Virginia, from town
councils and boards of supervisors, to the
statehouse is easily, comfortably conversant with
transportation shortfalls in Virginia, but most duck or just clam up when it comes to what we all
know it must come to eventually:
still have to talk about how you pay for it,”
Governor Mark Warner said in a Richmond Times
Dispatch piece by Jeff Schapiro last week.
for you, Governor.
do Jerry Kilgore and Tim Kaine, both of whom hope to
succeed Warner, have to say on that one?
Herewith, via staff, replies from both:
has come a long way in developing innovative ways to
address the transportation problems we have,
and Hampton Roads, by focusing on reforming
processes in VDOT and also using the Public Private
Partnership Act of 1995 to build roads better,
faster and cheaper. We
need to ensure that we keep commerce and people
moving throughout the intermodal transportation
system in Virginia. One of the
most important things we can do is prevent the
Transportation Fund from being raided. This will ensure that planned projects are
funded and construction delays are avoided.
am committed to looking at innovative and
forward-looking initiatives that free up capacity on
our existing network of roads by recognizing that
transportation is a service that should be treated
like other goods and services — allowing the
private sector to meet the demands of consumers in
an open and free marketplace.
Some innovative initiatives that will allow
us to modernize our transportation system are a
reliance on HOT lanes in high congestion areas and a
greater reliance on private-public agreements to
construct projects more quickly and efficiently.
I will not do is advance more of the outdated,
ineffective efforts of the past.
My transportation initiatives will recognize
that we have to modernize our transportation system
now — not just plan to build roads 10 years from
now when we will have done irreparable harm to the
people an economy of Virginia.”
Thank you, Jerry.
Governor Tim Kaine has two priorities when it comes
to improving Virginia’s transportation situation:
making our system more efficient and more
will continue the proven efficiency reforms now
underway and restore people’s confidence in
government by ensuring that dedicated transportation
money cannot be used for anything else.
Kaine believes a well-planned transportation network
— roads, rail, airports, and seaports — is
critical to Virginia’s quality of life and economic success.
As Richmond’s Mayor, Tim Kaine championed the successful
effort to restore train service to Virginia’s Capitol
Governor, Tim Kaine will focus on efficiency
improvements in VDOT, continuing the reforms begun
by Governor Mark Warner and implemented by VDOT
Commissioner Phil Shucet.
Those new methods of operation have
dramatically improved VDOT’s ability to complete
projects on time and on budget.
The momentum is moving in the right
direction, but there is still a lot of room to
Kaine is working to ensure that no transportation
funds are raided for other purposes.
He proposed last year, and will again this
year, a constitutional amendment to prevent
lawmakers from stealing transportation money to prop
up other parts of the state budget, a practice that
has been too common in Richmond over the last 15
have a right to know that the tax dollars they pay
for transportation are being spent only on
transportation and are being spent wisely.”
Thank you, Tim.
dear reader, do you see what we’re really up
-- August 9, 2004