Wednesday, January 20, 2010

McDonnell Punts on Transportation

The Roanoke Times ripped Governor Bob McDonnell today for his apparent reversal on transportation. During the campaign, it was one of the most crucial issues facing the state, and he lambasted Creigh Deeds for his plan (or lack thereof). But the Times points out that suddenly it can wait, and now Mr. McDonnell is sounding an awful lot like his old opponent:

On the campaign trail last fall, Gov. Bob McDonnell promised Virginians he had a plan to fix the state's broken transportation system.

In 19 pages, he detailed how he would fund highways, rail and other improvements without raising taxes. Now, when it is time to put his plan into action, he punts.

Last week, he announced he would not pursue transportation reform during the General Assembly session. He said lawmakers would not have enough time to evaluate his plan, and he would not have enough time to sell it.

No offense intended, but the plan is not very hard to evaluate. It is loaded with the same gimmicks Republicans have talked about for years. Everyone is familiar with them.


He could at least try to deliver and make transportation funding the priority he claimed it was.

Instead, McDonnell says he might call a special session of the assembly later in the year. First he wants to spend time working with lawmakers and using the persuasive powers of his office to find a deal that all sides can agree to.

If that sounds eerily familiar, it is. McDonnell's opponent, Creigh Deeds, said that was what he wanted to do. McDonnell dismissed it as no plan at all then.

The article then concludes that McDonnell may be coming clean with the public, but I'm not sure that's quite it. For the sake of our own future prosperity, I hope the governor is finally being honest with himself--has Mr. McDonnell looked at the balance sheet and realized the unsettling truth that in order to pave our roads and pay our teachers, a tax hike may be inevitable? Has he seen what's becoming necessary and begun preparing for a long fight? Will he abandon his ideological instincts and do what's in the best interests of Virginia? If he does, it certainly won't make him the next RNC chair.

But it will make him a good governor.

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