The House Seizes the Initiative on Transportation

The House of Delegates looks like it has its political act together. In marked contrast to the 2004 session, in which tax-hike foes repeatedly backtracked and compromised, the House has passed its transportation package lock, stock and smoking barrel. Many measures passed unanimously, which means that even House Democrats are on board, and even the most controversial measures won approval by comfortable margins.

There will be no repeat of 2004, in which a Democratic Governor successfully triangulated between two Republican-controlled chambers of the General Assembly.

For a list of all the bills that will be referred to the Senate, refer to our post on the Road to Ruin blog.


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17 responses to “The House Seizes the Initiative on Transportation”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    With the exception of using chronic poor drivers as a revenue source, I like the proposals. I will take that one bad with the good however if it means we get the overall plan approved.

    We’ll see now if the Senate is really interested in fixing transportation problems or just using it as an excuse to raise taxes.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    It ain’t over until the fat Republican senators sing.

  3. I;m afraid this plan fails the “fiscally responsible, stable, long term” formula. It generates only about half of what we need to seriously address the problem. Its funding mechanism is not stable.
    I hope this is their opening bid in what becomes a compromise and not their bottom line.

  4. E M Risse Avatar

    The House “solution” does nothing to tie settlement patterns to transportation.

    We also all know by this time that any increase in funding without Fundamental Change in human settlement patterns only makes matterns worse.

    All three “plans” now on the table have both of these fatal flaws.

    That is why we call the current legislative process a dance with the Devil.

    The only hope is for a deadlock until informed voters can put new people with new ideas in all the chairs in both houses.

    EMR

  5. Rtwng Extrmst Avatar
    Rtwng Extrmst

    EMR,

    Your suggestion sounds eerily similar to the “starve the beast” approach that so many “anti-taxers” are accused of.

    I think your ideas deserve meritable thought, but I have to wonder if they can realistically be implemented on a wide-scale in a free society. I would say we should do our best to reduce gridlock in a reasonable fashion and continue to look at ways to solve the “long-term” problem with an open mind.

    Kingfish,

    I would submit that no plan could possibly be considered ” fiscally stable” since the legislature has proven without a doubt over time to be more than willing to rob transportation funds for other projects. The HoD plan seems to be the most fiscally responsible. I would say get it started here and get a constitutional lock on the TTF. Then we can work on longer term solutions.

  6. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Define ‘fiscally stable’! Give examples. All government comes from the People or corporations (still from the People). One of my favorite courses in one grad school was Government and Business in a Mixed Economy. If the economy is stable the funding is stable.

    Since taxes kill jobs, flatten government revenues and then diminish them (ceteris paribus) what is the virtue of this stable financing?

  7. Stable in this sense means a reliable source of funding that can be counted on, year after year, to produce a dedicated flow of funding to address transportation. This permits serious longterm planning of projects. I agree with Rtwng that the lockbox the Governor campaigned on is an essential component, where she and I disagree is that she would not fund anything significant pre-lockbox and I do not believe that we can wait for the Constitution to be amended to begin to adequately address the issue. Perhaps that is because I drive in Hampton Roads everyday. It does make me wonder about the quality of our representatives when the marriage amendment sales through the Assembly and this vital component of protecting the people’s money gets shuffled off to die.

  8. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Kingfish: English please, not Politicease.

    What is a stable or reliable source of funding?

    You have property taxes, sales taxes, registration fees, tolls, death tax, gas tax, etc. Please name what are the stable and reliable fundings and what aren’t

    The Republicans have been the majority since 1997. If raids have been made on the Transportation Trust Fund, then blame them and Govs Gilmore and Warner.

    If you are from Tidewater, then ask Sen. Marty Williams, who sent out a press release on his Heinz 57 new taxes for transportation, what are the number one, two, three transportation needs – and fixes – in priority for our area. I’ve never seen a priority list, just a laundry list.

    Why hasn’t Marty pushed for funding the number one priority since he was elected in 1995? It’s been 11 years – whaddya waiting to figure out – other than how to not make a decision and soak the People for enough money to pay for everyone’s pet project?

    The consensus on marriage is an easy social issue. A little leadership and vision is hard to find on transportation – especially among the Republicans who want to tax their way to the future. Irony abounds.

  9. JAB- A reliable but confidential source tells me that the proposed Senate gas tax increase will amount to $54.00 per person. If you drive over here on the Southside, as I do, then maybe you would find that not too onerous. The gas tax seems like a logical place to finance roads built to move cars which consume… gas.
    I do not think all taxes are bad, as you seem to do. I want them to be as small as possible and relate to a legitimate governmental purpose. This seems to fit the bill.
    And no offense, JAB, you speak as much Politicease while blogging as anyone else. You just do it better than most.

  10. Sorry, JAB, I left a part out. Warner never raided the transportation fund. The culprit would be Jim ” No Taxes, no How” Gilmore, who seems to live in your wheelhouse.( that’s a baseball term)

  11. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Kingfish: I may be guilty of all sins large and small, omission and commission – but that is not the subject.

    Please name which taxes are reliable, stable, whatever the term de jour is.

    Please name which taxes are not.

    Simple, n’est-ce pas?

  12. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Whoa, were is the memory hole? Didn’t Warner and the GOP GA raid the Transportation Trust fund of $200m ( or what was it) in the 02 session?

  13. JAB- I think my previous post indicated that the gas tax was a thing I would support for this purpose

  14. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Kingfish: Okay, so you support a gas tax. But is a gas tax reliable and sustainable or not? I don’t understand why people will use words like they have meaning and then not stand up and explain what they really mean.

  15. JAB- It is reliable and sustainable as long as people drive cars powered by gas

  16. Rtwng Extrmst Avatar
    Rtwng Extrmst

    Kingfish,

    Are you assuming I am a female? Incorrect.

    As to the “lock-box” it should be noted that the GA has had legislation before at at least the last two sessions and each time it has been “continued” in committee by a unanimous vote. I can understand continuing it this year because there is a requirement to have an election year inbetween the consecutive GA approvals of constitutional amendments. However, that does not explain the unanimous continuance last year. I can only assum that the continuance was because the committee did not have enough votes (on an evenly split partisam committee membership) to approve the measure to the floor. This means there was not at least one or two members of the opposing party willing to approve the bill. Therefore, the problem cannot be blamed solely on republicans if you ask me. It is a GA non-partisan problem. Why didn’t this bill pass last year with flying colors? We would have had an intervening election last fall and a vote on the amendment this fall. This would have started protecting the fund next January! There is enough blame to go around on this, however, the blame in the Senate to me appears to be among the Republican “leadership” and Democrats who do not want to lose their power to have a cash fund to withdraw money when they want it.

  17. Extremeist- Sorry you’re not a girl. I agree that what has happened, or more precisely hasn’t happened, regarding the lockbox amendment is a disgrace.

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