Tom Joad's Place

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Location: Fairfax, Virginia, United States

Monday, March 27, 2006

So where are we going to get the money?

From the Washington Post:

"This year, Kaine and state senators each want to raise $1 billion a year in new transportation money through tax increases. House Republicans do not want to raise taxes for transportation and have a $350 million transportation plan.


Nearly all of those interviewed said that they will not consider a course of action similar to that taken in 2004 because the state's financial health is better. And Virginia's sterling credit rating is not on the line this year, as Warner and senators argued it was in 2004. The state is running a $1.4 billion surplus; in 2004, the state had just completed a round of budget cuts totaling $6 billion."

The problem with that argument is that it is extremely myopic. Virginia has a transportation crisis. I repeat VIRGINIA HAS A TRANSPORTATION CRISIS! From gridlock in Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg, Richmond, and the Tidewater, this issue cuts through almost all regions and across all party lines. The Democrats and Senate Republicans, though, seem to be the only ones who want to take on the responsibility of funding our roads.

Yes, there is a budget surplus. Unfortunately, most of that surplus is already been allocated to other pressing needs in the future. It's also a good idea to have a small stash of money to break into when economic times are not as rosy. Money needs to be raised for transportation only.

The Republicans have to understand that this issue is not a one year budget fix. This will require a new financial discipline for the next twenty years. If we do the bare minimum, we are just going to have the same problems five years from now. Is the solution that I'm offering of more taxes to pay for roads painful? Yes. But someday we are going to have to pay the piper for our hyper growth throughout the Commonwealth.

The Republicans in the House of Delegates want to play politics with Governor Tim Kaine. They want to give him a political black eye in his first legislative session. That's fine. Play hardball if you want. If there is not a viable solution that is passed, Democrats will use this as a hammer to bash Republicans for the next two years.

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