Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Deeds Lamely Admits Lacking "Any Specific Plan to Fund Transportation"

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins today drew a contrast between Republican candidate for Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell and his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds. McDonnell unveiled a comprehensive, expansive plan to refurbish and fund transportation improvements, while Deeds offered a set of amorphous platitudes and an embarrassing admission that he did not have any idea at all how he would pay for any needed improvements to infrastructure and maintenance.

The McDonnell Plan

* Privatize Virginia's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and dedicate proceeds to transportation
* Pass legislation to capture increased revenue from growth in port operations, and invest in regional transportation projects
* Take percentage of sales tax collected in Northern Virginia and put in regional transportation account
* Issue $3 billion in available bonds for transportation, and support future bond issuance of $1 billion for highly congested areas
* Expand 70mph speed limit, currently only allowed on stretches of Interstate 85 in southern Virginia, to sections of other interstates in Commonwealth
* Dedicate percentage of new revenue growth to transportation
* Spend 75% of future surplus funds on transportation
* Dramatically expand Public-Private Partnership agreements for major priority projects
* Protect Transportation Trust Fund
* Audit VDOT to find and eliminate waste and inefficiencies; Seek greater autonomy from time-consuming federal regulations
* Seek federal approval for use of 2nd and 3rd year stimulus dollars for transportation projects now
* Support HOT lanes
* Enact border tolling of traffic coming into Virginia from North Carolina along I-85 and I-95
* Dedicate percentage of revenue from future offshore drilling to transportation
* Prioritize transportation projects. Top of list: Widen I-66 in and out of Beltway; Complete, within budget and on time, rail to Dulles; Complete I-495 and I-395/95 HOT Lane Projects; Upgrade Route 460; Find consensus for Third Crossing and move forward; Build High Speed Passenger Rail; Improve I-81; Coalfields Expressway Completion
* Provide telework tax credits
* Create bipartisan transportation task force, led by former governors and congressmen, to evaluate Virginia's transportation system and propose improvements
* Employ smart traffic technologies, light synchronization and new traffic management systems

The Deeds "Plan"

* The plan must be long-term in scope, with long-range, multi-modal solutions that move people and goods more efficiently;

* The plan must be statewide in conception, so that every part of the Commonwealth has a stake in the outcome; and

* The plan must be creative in nature, incorporating innovative solutions like incentives for telecommuting and bus rapid transit.

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