Why’s an AG Candidate Talking about Transportation Policy?

This communique comes from Steve Baril in response to comments appearing in this blog asking why a candidate for Attorney General is making transportation a major platform in his campaign. — Jim Bacon

Some of your readers and others across the State have asked about the Attorney General’s role in transportation. The question has arisen in connection with my Marshall Plan for transportation. Aside from Jerry Kilgore, I’m the only statewide candidate offering a long-term, comprehensive plan to solve Virginia’s transportation problems. So, I’d like to answer the question head-on.

There are three good reasons why an AG candidate should speak out on transportation: litigation, legal advice and leadership.

1. Every major transportation project hits its first roadblock when the anti’s of one stripe or another file a lawsuit to block the project. Who’s going to defend VDOT and the Commonwealth? The AG’s office. It makes sense to have the best qualified lawyer in this race representing Virginia to advance these projects as quickly as possible.

2. It is also the Attorney General’s job to advise the Governor and VDOT on public-private partnership initiatives, privatizing and outsourcing VDOT’s traditional functions, including maintenance work. It makes perfect sense to arm our next Governor, Jerry Kilgore, with an Attorney General who is completely wired-in to one of the most critical challenges facing the Commonwealth — transportation.

3. Finally, statewide office is a bully pulpit for leadership. There is no shortage of politicians. What we lack is statesmanship. The Republican Party should produce as many leaders as possible who can champion issues like transportation. For example, Jerry Kilgore did it with domestic violence, though he was criticized for not tending to his knitting. The fact remains, Virginia is better off today because Jerry took up this very important issue, sought legislative action, and won the day in the General Assembly. I am offering the same leadership today on transportation. It is an area where I have a proven track record of success, having spearheaded the completion of Route 288 around Richmond, a road that the so-called experts said couldn’t be built in my lifetime.

If you want politics as usual, then I won’t be your guy. If you want straight talk and honest solutions to real problems like transportation and keeping Virginia safe, then I’m your man!

That’s why I’m receiving such a tremendous response to my Marshall Plan for transportation. Virginia has had enough career politicians who say one thing, yet do another. They want honest, straight talk, and a can-do attitude to get things done! I did it with Route 288. I’ll do it for transportation across Virginia.

— Steve Baril


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Comments

  1. I appreciate this spirited defense of AG’s taking on policy positions not related to crime. I think it’s sound.

    But I wonder: what in the world was the point of 288? a road to no where, I like to call it. Planning ahead is great – but why does Richmond get a huge road to no where when NOVA doesn’t get a single new road? (other than the mixing bowl upgrade and the wilson bridge)

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Richmond has the “road to nowhere” because, somehow, 288 soaked up all the new road construction funding for the entire Richmond region for the next 5-10 years. I’m not sure how that was worked out financially. Some kind of creative financing, I guess. But the bottom line is Richmond won’t see any more new roads built for years unless its citizens are willing to finance them with tolls.

    If the details came out–and it’s a research project that Bacon’s Rebellion hopes to undertake in the not-too-distant future–I’m not sure Mr. Baril would be so quick to identify himself with the 288 project.

  3. The Jaded JD Avatar
    The Jaded JD

    I believe I have it on good authority when I say that Del. Jack Reid said that the transportation compromise between the House and Senate last year lifted the Richmond region funding cap.

  4. The original excuse for 288 was given by governor Allen – motorola was coming, so we needed a road.

    Personally, I love the road. I can get to my parents house faster. But it doesn’t exactly have any traffic on it…ever…

    The other thing I heard was that Senator Watkins drew the lines so that it would go right by his nursery (instead of closer to town) so he could profit off the gas stations and development. No one ever proved anything, however.

  5. Chris Porter Avatar
    Chris Porter

    I have to call shenanigans on this post.

    1) Who’s going to defend VDOT and the Commonwealth? The AG’s office. It makes sense to have the best qualified lawyer in this race representing Virginia to advance these projects as quickly as possible.

    Mr. Baril has made a cottage industry of claiming that he is the best qualified lawyer in the AG’s race. Frankly, it’s insulting to Creigh Deeds, Bob McDonnell, and every other prosecutor in the state to say that lawyers who went to CA’s office are less qualified. It’s even more insulting (and very unpeople’s lawyeresque) to try to trump a solo practice or small firm with working as a corporate shill at Williams Mullen. See Steve Minor for more along this line.

    The other “most qualified” argument that Steve Baril makes is the back-slapping Va Legal Elite. Notice, not a lot of methodology described in the rankings. And amazingly, after being a 2002 and 2003 legal elite in civil litigation, in 2004 Mr. Baril was a legal elite in “Public Service.” What an amazing shift in specialties! So versatile!

    Even more laughable is the idea that a 950 word press release somehow puts him in a better position to defend SOMEONE ELSE’S transportation plan!!

    2)It makes perfect sense to arm our next Governor, Jerry Kilgore, with an Attorney General who is completely wired-in to one of the most critical challenges facing the Commonwealth — transportation.

    See number 1 above. Being the vice-chairman for a lobbying front group set up by Chesterfield County does not make you wired-in to transportation. Show me one motion that Mr. Baril reviewed for 288, on brief he worked on, or one land-use issue he arbitrated.

    3)Finally, statewide office is a bully pulpit for leadership. There is no shortage of politicians. What we lack is statesmanship.

    Now we get to the root of it. This so-called plan for transportation is about running for governor in 2009. The thing is, people have run for governor without spending $1.5 million of Richmond establishment money on a warm-up. They’re named Mark Warner.

  6. Ray Hyde Avatar

    “Personally, I love the road. I can get to my parents house faster. But it doesn’t exactly have any traffic on it…ever…”

    When a store or a concert or a public benefit is crowded we think it is a great success, but when roads are crowded we claim they are a failure. When roads are not crowded, we love them.

    What happened to the induced traffic demand on 288?

    My prediction on the mixing boal and Wilson Bridge is that they were disasters and when they are finished they will be bigger disasters.

    For what the brdge cost we could have built two more crossings elsewhere.

    The mixing bowl interchange should have been broken in three pieces too. One going east to 95 from around Newington and one going west to 495 from around Occoquon. Farther away might even be better.

    The way you reduce congestion is to spread out. 288 is a good, but unneccessary, example.

  7. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    On 288: The quarter billion or so in GF that the General Assembly put into transportation this year is being used to pay off internal VDOT project deficits, and the largest deficit project was 288. To the extent that happens, you don’t need to use future Richmond district money to pay it off and that money can now be used for additional projects. I’ve been wondering when the congested Northern Virginians would notice how we Richmond commuters can now get to work at 55-65 mph at 8 a.m. The only thing wrong with 288 is that it should have been tolled, at least at the bridge across the James. Baril is saying some good things on transportation, but as Attorney General he won’t be able to do a single blessed thing to move the ball on that field. Not that he will be AG…

  8. Jim Delaney, Fairfax GOP Avatar
    Jim Delaney, Fairfax GOP

    As someone who remembers firsthand how my taxes went up to finance Secretary of State George Marshall’s plan to rebuild Western Europe during the Truman Administration, I really question Mr. Baril’s use of that mega-spending term. Mr. Baril is being disingenous when he promises guns and butter and tells us that he can inject $1 Billion of new dollars per year into our state’s transportation system without a penny of new taxes. Mr. Baril had my vote until he seranaded me with this bogus song. Now, I would not mind it if a Democrat were to give me this “Marshall Plan for Transportation” jive” and then tell me, honestly, that he will need to raise taxes to pay for it. For a guy like Mr. Baril who is running on a “straight talk” slogan, he sure as heck is not giving it to us with this idea.

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