What Would Tim Do? About Transportation in Virginia.

Rumor from Richmond is that Governor Tim Kaine will offer a “Democratic Plan for Transportation”. That seems a bit far-fetched so late in the GA session. The more likely course is the word our Democrat Governor will do everything he can to kill whatever comes of conference committee so there is NO transportation bill. Nothing produced from two sessions of the majority Repubican-controlled GA.

More power to our Governor. This Republican isn’t kidding. The bad parts of the Transportation compromise of Republican and Conservative principles are so terrible that Virginia is better off with nothing. The bad far ouweighs the good reforms and innovations.

Best wishes, Gov. Kaine, on stopping bad legislation on behalf of all Virginians.

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9 responses to “WWTD”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Geeezeeee ….

    Are the Conservative R’s so DEVOID of ideas and principles to move Virginia forward on Transportation that all they can do is blame the RINOs and do a tweedle de tweedle dum on taxation?

    Tell me the fundamental differences between the Dems approach and the R’s approach?

    They BOTH want higher taxes.. they both dumped the land-use reforms, and they both are fundamentally in favor of the status quo by ignoring the JLARC reforms.

    The Conservative R’s have brough what new ideas to the table to actually follow their principles of doing MORE with existing tax dollars BEFORE taxes are raised?

    Sorry.. we all know what the Dems are after. Give them credit – they are not pretending something different from what they are advocating.

    They want more money for the status quo.

    And the Conservative R’s want … ?

    what? KILL the TTF by using General Revenue funds – that next year and later years will be Open Season when Education and others General Revenue beneficiaries run short; they’ll go straight for the TTF – because it’s funding is from the General Revenues and fair game.

    THIS is the R’s “Big Idea”?

    .. hmm.. where is that hammer so I can hit my toe again…

  2. Reid Greenmun Avatar
    Reid Greenmun

    Larry – it has ALWAYS been “open season” on taking money out of the TTF to use in the general Fund.

    Using a General Fund surplus to PAY BACK the TTF isn’t going to make that situation any worse – but it WILL strore some of the hundreds of millions of tax dollars taken OUT of the TTF.

    Here is a recent example:

    In 1986, the General Assembly increased the state sales and use tax from 4 to 4 1/2 cents and dedicated the one-half-cent increase to the Transportation Trust Fund. However, to balance the current-year (FY2003) budget, the General Assembly and the Governor agreed to divert from the Transportation Trust Fund 80 percent ($317 million) of the sales and use tax revenues that had been dedicated to transportation. To avoid showing a decrease in transportation spending, the budget replaces the money by borrowing against future federal transportation subsidies.


  3. Anonymous Avatar

    The reason, perhaps, that this post has so few comments is that it doesn’t really seek a reax, just a cheer from the choir. What’s the point?

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “…..the General Assembly and the Governor agreed …”

    Would this include the R’s ?

    I’d point out that the idea of taking from the TTF is justified because the funds did not come from user fees but the general fund.

    Future diversions will occur using the same principle – that since the money was General Revenue money.. it is “okay” to divert it.

    ergo – the end of the TTF.

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    The package that emerged yesterday is better than what has been seen so far, and is worth a yes vote.

    The use of $250 million in unspecified general funds was a poor idea, but the dedication of a specific revenue source (recordation taxes) to paying off the bonds is easier to accept. Years ago some of these same legislators used that source for Route 58. The major problem with the statewide plan is that it lacks new revenue of any consequence for the main problem — the maintenance fund. But leaving the state gas tax untouched leaves that logical option open — it will come, folks. The gas tax can’t stay at 1987 levels much longer.

    If the Northern Virginia business community is willing to accept a 25 cent commercial real estate tax surcharge, that is no more insane than most of the positions they have taken over the years. The business groups that backed it will continue to lose members and clout. Any group that does that to its own members — and crows about it — is not long for this world.

    But in Hampton Roads the business community had more sense, pushed for more user-based revenue and got it, in the form of a 2 percent sales tax on fuel. The tourists will pay that, too — a huge step in the right direction.

    The commercial-only RE tax is a bad idea that will spread, but the sales tax on gas is a good idea that also will spread. Fair trade.

    This is an election-year bandaid, not a long term solution. It has been unclear since day one whether Kaine wanted the bill to fail, so the Rs would look ineffective, or wanted the bill to get to his desk so he could send down his own amendments. Either goal had its advantages, but he really had to pick one and none of us could tell which he preferred.

    If the vote fails today, one reason will be that in the final 48 hours the House Republicans could not resist pulling the Governor’s tail. For example they awarded him a rocking chair for sitting on the porch doing nothing. Great high jinks for a high school student government, but poor tactics if you need a bipartisan vote to win — and they do.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross


    “specific revenue source (recordation taxes) to paying off the bonds is easier to accept.”

    This is a respectable and legitimate Republican/Conservative approach to funding. KUDOs!

    “The major problem with the statewide plan is that it lacks new revenue of any consequence for the main problem — the maintenance fund.”

    It is way past time for the gas tax to be indexed for inflation.

    Why are the legislators not doing this? I don’t think this is something that any legislator regardless of political credentials would be tossed out of office for.

  7. 10thdistrictrepublican Avatar

    I think Kaine is bluffing and if this tranportation package goes through he will sign it.

    As for this being a bad plan, I am not in favor of all aspects of the plan but this even if it fails is probably the best plan that could potentially save the Republican seats in NOVA.
    It makes me proud that for the most part conservatives and moderates in the GA with the exception of a very small group got together and were willing to work through their differences.

  8. Toomanytaxes Avatar

    Larry – I think that indexing the gas tax makes some sense, but I doubt the average Virgnian would trust that the money would be well spent.

  9. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    I think voters would support indexing if it was guaranteed to be used only for maintenance – and especially the many decrepit bridges and unsafe rural roads.

    Of course the folks who “really” own the GA would never go for that… they’d just have to figure out a way to divert that money to their economic development roads.

    You’re right. Rodger is right. Reid is right.

    The issue is TRUST.

    I don’t give Reagan much credit but one thing I do and that it his motto:

    “Trust but Verify”.

    Rodger – if we had a state level planning agency whose Mission Statement said “Trust but Verify” AND we forced VDOT to incorporate that same statement into their Mission Statement – I’d support it.

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