It's Only Mostly Dead
The "compromise" transportation plan worked out among some Republican leaders in Virginia was a compromise among those leaders, not a negotiated settlement with the General Assembly members who believe the commonwealth shouldn't set one public priority against the anothers.
Now that the Senate Finance Committee has rejected that plan, it's time to work out a true compromise. The political mechanism for it exists in Richmond. The House of Delegates and Senate can do their dealing in a conference committee before the end of the legislative session. Big problem: The session has only three weeks to go.
Northern Virginia's advocates for transportation improvements, many of whom were in Richmond on Thursday to lobby for the cause, should not give up now. Some people are pinning their hopes on the November elections to fashion a General Assembly more favorable to big investment in transportation. But that prospect is chancy at best.
Just about every legislator who represents an area concerned about the issue vocally supports spending more money to solve the problem. The 2008 General Assembly that emerges from the elections is no more likely than this one to rally around a particular means of addressing the concern.
Right now, you've got this House bill vs. this Senate bill.
The real goal among Northern Virginia leaders is to find enough money to carry out the TransAction2030 plan of improvements big and small across the region for the next two decades. For those stuck in traffic or jammed aboard trains and buses, it offers new roads, transit, bike paths, sidewalks and trails.
There were bound to be bumps along the way, and it's too early to abandon hope.
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