Kaine’s Transportation Amendments OK with Howell

House Speaker William J. Howell predicted yesterday that Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s amendments to the General Assembly’s transportation/land use package would encounter little opposition when the Senate and House reconvene Monday. Republican lawmakers approve of the Governor’s changes for the most part, he told the Fredericksburg Rotary Club yesterday. Chelyen Davis has the story for the Free Lance-Star.

Also, because Kaine packaged his amendments as a substitute bill, rather than as line-item changes, lawmakers won’t have an opportunity to tinker with it, Howell said. “You can’t go in and really look at each of the different amendments, it’s up or down, basically.”

So, the likelihood that the Transportation Abomination will become law is now approaching 99 percent. Virginians will pay a hodge-podge of higher taxes, fees and penalties with only the most tangential relationship to how far they drive, when they drive, or the strain they put on Virginia’s transportation system. There is absolutely no incentive for anyone to modify their driving habits in any way — no reason to carpool, ride the bus, telecommute, move closer to work, what have you. The bill does provide additional sums for mass transit, but there’s no methodology for determining if dollars would be spent to greater effect that way than by making other types of improvements.

On the positive side, the creation of Urban Development Areas and related transportation districts will encourage local governments to think very differently about the relationship between land use and planning. Fast-growth jurisdictions across Virginia may be forced to re-write their comprehensive plans. Meanwhile, the new local option to impose impact fees could shift the transportation debate from the state to the local level. It will take months, maybe years, for the implications of this legislation to work its way through the system.

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4 responses to “Kaine’s Transportation Amendments OK with Howell”

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Potential still may exist for mischief making if anyone were so inclined. Writes a reader:

    If I’m reading the Constitution right, both houses do have an option in dealing with an amendment in the nature of a substitute. From Article V, Section 6(b)iii:

    “If the Governor fails to send down specific and severable amendments as determined by the majority vote of the members present in either house, then the bill shall be before that house, in the form originally sent to the Governor and may be acted upon in accordance with Article IV, Section 11 of this Constitution and returned to the Governor. The Governor shall either sign or veto a bill returned as provided in this subsection or, if there are fewer than seven days remaining in the session, as provided in subsection (c).”

    In other words, the House and Senate could throw out Kaine’s amendments because they’re not “specific and severable” and send back their own for veto or signature. At least that’s the way I read it.

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    It’s a done deal. The Republicans (minus the miniscule minority who actually recognize and support Conservative principles and the Virginia Republican Creed) think this is the greatest legislation since the Magna Charta. Just ask them.

    The ‘business’ community (the ones who give them money) support it and their constituents (the ones who fawn over them) love it. Just ask.

    The bill will pass. The Republican Majority is safe in the senate for 4 years. The Republican base will bleed more Conservatives from support in the 08 and 09 elections.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Anyone out there in Republican land miss Vance Wilkins? I sure do.

    He was focused on no tax. I have been asking co-workers and others: outside of those (eg teachers and public servants) who are on the “public” paycheck; i.e., whose livelihoods are paid by taxpayers, all agree on one thing: too much money goes to taxes with too little return.

    Traffic. Enough said and now we have a variety of increase that will hurt taxpayers but not the businesses who cause the problem.

    Education: China and India are way ahead in math and science graduates–the content-foundations of technology.

    Public Safety. We can’t fairly deal with dog fighting, and gang activity, murders, et al are increasing. This is an area where money probably needs to be spent.

    So, thanks to the conservatives, we once again see the status quo of tax increase–more taxes, more rules.

    I do miss Vance Wilkins.

  4. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anon: The Republicans increased your taxes, not the Conservatives.

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