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Kaine Presents New Transportation Plan

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who has called the General Assembly into special session beginning Monday, today unveiled the transportation plan he will present to the legislature.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Transportation Board met today in Richmond to gut the state's six-year plan for road, rail, biker and pedestrian improvements. The economy and a Virginia State Supreme Court decision earlier this year mean Virginia will have less money than it thought for these programs.

[Here's a link to The Post story on the day's developments, including an interactive map showing delays and cuts.]

Kaine has been touring the state holding town hall style meetings to discuss his ideas, but this afternoon's public announcement showed the plan as the legislators will see it.

This is what he says it will do, and how it would be financed:

Goals
-- Cut the highway maintenance deficit.
-- Increase local road construction funding and restore support for construction projects statewide.
-- Invest in targeted projects to reduce traffic congestion in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, the state's two most congested regions.
-- Create a Transportation Change Fund to increase investment in transit, rail, and innovations that would reduce traffic congestion. (He offers the example of expanding ridesharing.)
-- Provide incentives for cities and towns to take responsibility for their road construction programs.
-- Create incentives for localities to use their land more efficiently by providing dedicated funding for transportation improvements in urban development areas.
-- Clarifies local government flexibility to use secondary and urban road funding for transit projects.

That's a blend of mainstream ideas among advocates for roads, transit and the environment.

Financing
-- Increase the statewide motor vehicles sales tax from 3 percent to 4 percent. Do it with a one-half percent increase in January 2009 and another half-percent percent in July 2009.
-- Dedicate all motor vehicle sales tax funds to maintenance.
-- Increase the statewide annual vehicle registration fee by $10 and dedicate that extra money to maintenance.
-- Increase the retail sales tax in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads by 1 percent, except for food and medicine. In our region, the money would go to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
-- Increase the statewide grantor's tax by 25 cents, and put the money into the Transportation Change Fund.
-- Lock it up: Any of these tax increases would expire if used for any purpose other than transportation.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 19, 2008; 3:52 PM ET
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Comments

DOA in the do-nothing General Assembly. The special session is a waste of taxpayer money, absolutely nothing will be accomplished.

So we go in circles, sitting in epic gridlock, wasting $4/gallon gas, watching Metro fall apart from lack of basic maintenance, and making minimum progress with maximum effort.

Posted by: Pointless | June 19, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

At least they're doing more than Congress!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I could live with the financing proposals if, and only if, there were more information on how it will be spent. So far, all we have seen is the pork laden wish list from NVTA and the CTB along with some vague references to highway maintance. I am very skeptical of maintance projects that seem to consist of ripping up perfectly good road surfices and repaving them in order to provide income for favored contractors.

BTW -- "Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Transportation Board met today in Richmond to gut the state's six-year plan for road, rail, biker and pedestrian improvements." Very objective reporting. I like the use of the term "gut" rather than reevaluate. It lets us know just where WaPo stands. Has Wapo ever thought of hiring an objective reproter for this beat rather than a tax and transit cheerleader who might as well be on Kaine's payroll?

Posted by: Woodbridge VA | June 19, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

The Post thought about it, but all the good candidates lived out in Woodbridge and it takes them like 2 hours to get to work. Just wouldn't work out.

Posted by: VC | June 19, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't suppport any tax increases until I see that they are using what they have efficiently. I see 4 state trucks and 10 workers at a work site and one person (if that) working. I see good roads repaved and bad roads ignored. They take two weeks to do a two day job. A major overhaul of VDOT needs to be done before they get another dime.

Posted by: Marion, VA | June 19, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that there is no mention whatsoever on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation sector. It looks to me like another case of, "We're going to build our way out of congestion", all the while increasing VMT due to latent demand.

Posted by: Dave Erickson | June 19, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

After all their mistakes, Only an idiot would trust the NVTA.

This is Kaine's same old stuff, nothing original, nothing new.

This proposal is going nowhere fast.

Posted by: Start over | June 19, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

what a good ideas. some one has to pay for it now or else there will be no improvement on the road.

Posted by: osman | June 19, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

What a great idea!!!!!!

A huge increase in real estate taxes in the middle of the worst real estate meltdown in 50+ years.

What is he smoking ???

Posted by: Let's destroy the real estate market | June 19, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Why don't we just split the state and create the 51st of "North Virginia." Being such, I oppose the sales tax increase in NoVa and Hampton Roads because it divides the state and is clearly discriminatory. Are you telling me that none of the sales tax from NoVa went to special projects down south? The Richmond area never improved it's road issues with NoVa money? Why can't we levy the tax on the entire state. Fair is fair. After all, NoVa and Hampton Roads accounts for most of the Commonwealth's revenue after all. How about just dedicate 100% of all NoVa's tax revenue to NoVa's issues and let the rest of the red state fend for itself. One last thought, does anyone truly believe we will have a smoother commute when Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax are promoting the acceptance of millions of illegals and also claiming an imaginary "housing crunch" is leading them to approve more monstrous apartments and condos. Common sense has really escaped us this time.

Posted by: NoSalesTax | June 19, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

As for that comment about Northern VA... You guys up there act like you are another state. as if you represent and speak for the majority of the state. That is not the case. You have a bunch of Northerners (Liberal) from other states whom happen to reside in VA just to have the jobs in the Northern VA and the Northern surrounding areas. The way our electoral system is set up it lets those folks decide what is best for our state.. That is nonsense. Those folks up there do not hold the political opinions of this state I can assure you. Do your homework. You remove some of those areas and then see what the heartbeat is you would be astounded. This state was a conservative God fearing state and now look what has happened...... Man..They complained about the Republicans raising taxes. Whew lets sneak this by everyone. We have been paying for taxes and paying with the VA Lottery and we still have the unfinished ill maintained transportation system.

Posted by: Albert Browder | June 19, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Albert Browder: I have lived in Northern Virginia for 38 years. The fact is that we do not act like we are from another state -- we are treated as though we are another state. And you have no clue what sort of misery people in this part of Virginia endure DAILY. For NoSalesTax: You may or may not know that the emmissions inspections we are subject to in this part of Virginia do NOT apply to other areas of Virginia. So, that is an extra treat we get just for living here. And what sense does this make when the big trucks and other out-of-state vehicles clog up the interstates here? They are not subject to any of what we pay for....just living here.

Posted by: amiablehermit | June 19, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

I feel I need to clarify. I used to work in the City of Alexandria, about 8 miles from my home. On a REGULAR basis, 2-3 times a week, it would take me almost 2 hours to travel 2 miles along Duke Street. Pedestrians were long gone by the time I made it to the outskirts of town. A commute that should have taken no longer than a half an hour would be three times longer than that. Talk about exhaustion. Imagine that without air conditioning, too. This, of course, was better than the commute I used to have to make to Northwest DC. I am now totally intolerant, and have taken a job that makes no sense for me, simply because it is about 5 miles away from home and along the less-trobled southern portion of the GW Parkway. I think it says something when you adjust your life because of transportation nightmares.

Posted by: amiablehermit | June 19, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Amiablehermit: I truly feel for you to have lived "Up There" for 38 years. I have grown up in the central VA area for my entire 40 year life. As far as I can remember the problem has always been in the northern VA area. TRAFFIC..... it is a hassle. I agree. The roads are being worked on and have been worked on as long as I can remember. I had to travel the beltway after receiving chemotherapy treatments at the NIH and had to sit in traffic for hours only to go just past Richmond VA. It took around 4 sometimes 5 hours. THAT IS CRAZY!
Now how about that Democratic Gov. Kaine and his No Taxes. Wasn't he a huge supporter of Mark Warner's no raising taxes campaign?
As for the WASHINGTON POST...I agree with the gentleman above...perhaps they could get an objective "FAIR and BALANCED" reporter please. It seems that your articles are biased just a little would you not agree?
If you would please take note in a prior article reported
Kaine, Warner Pile Up Donations
Further Evidence In Va. of Strides By the Democrats

By Tim Craig and Anita Kumar
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 16, 2007; Page B01

RICHMOND, Oct. 15 -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and former governor Mark R. Warner are dominating the race for campaign cash as the two Democrats step up efforts to take from Republicans the General Assembly this fall and a U.S. Senate seat next year.

In campaign finance reports filed Monday, Kaine and Warner reported that they each had more than $1 million in the bank, which political observers said was another sign that the state's Democratic Party is on the rebound.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has $1 million left to spend before the Nov. 6 vote. (Bob Brown - AP)


The reports, including those filed by all candidates running for the General Assembly, underscore the challenges Virginia Republicans face as the state's popular current and former governors pursue their goal of turning the once reliably conservative commonwealth into a blue state.

Warner raised $1.1 million for his Senate race in the three weeks after his Sept. 13 announcement that he plans to seek the seat of Sen. John W. Warner (R), who is retiring. He raised half that amount during the first three days of his campaign, an impressive feat, because federal law limits donors to contributing no more than $2,300 to individual campaigns.

Kaine, whose donors are not limited under state law, is focusing on helping more Democrats get elected to the House of Delegates and state Senate on Nov. 6, when all 140 seats are up for election. Kaine's political action committee, Moving Virginia Forward, took in a little more than $1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30.

He gave more than $500,000 to 17 Democratic House and Senate candidates in September but still has $1 million to spend during the final three weeks of the campaign.

Kaine's money in the bank -- which doesn't include a $250,000 check he received from a Radford businessman Oct. 4 -- is being complemented by House and Senate Democratic leaders' efforts to raise money.

The Senate Democratic Caucus, according to party officials, had $851,889 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30, a huge sum that can help candidates in close races. This month, it has taken in an additional $330,000. As of Sept. 30, the House Democratic Caucus had $550,000 to spend on House candidates this MONTH.

THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY!!!!!!

Perhaps the DEMOCRATS,THE GOV or even perhaps his BUDDY that is seeking the SENATE seat could loan or maybe even give a generous donation of that cash that they collected from the citizens and use some of that to pay for these projects. According to the report from the Washington POST they seem to be able to raise money very fast and well, they should have no problem solving this problem. BUT Instead they offer this......

INCREASE the statewide motor vehicles sales tax from 3 percent to 4 percent. Do it with a one-half percent increase in January 2009 and another half-percent percent in July 2009.
-- DEDICATE all motor vehicle sales tax funds to maintenance.(WHERE SHOULD IT BE ANYWAY?)
-- INCREASE the statewide annual vehicle registration fee by $10 and dedicate that extra money to maintenance.
-- INCREASE the retail sales tax in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads by 1 percent, except for food and medicine. In our region, the money would go to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
-- INCREASE the statewide grantor's tax by 25 cents, and put the money into the Transportation Change Fund.

Come on now.... I can see now that the smoke has cleared. ;)

Posted by: Albert Browder | June 20, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

"You guys up there act like you are another state. as if you represent and speak for the majority of the state."

Well, if we keep going in the direction that we are, Northern Virginia liberals will represent the majority of the state soon enough. Last two govs have been Blue. And we certainly can't forget about Senator Macaca losing to a Dem. I'm more than happy to help with my vote.


signed,
Transplanted Bostonian, now Arlingtonian

Posted by: me | June 20, 2008 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Northern Virginians are so funny, they whine about how their money goes to do things in other parts of the state and then refuse to support any project in their own areas. They're just a bunch of NIMBY crybabies.

Posted by: get over yourselves | June 20, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Albert,

Since my opinion doesn't count because "I just happen to live in Virginia", can I opt out of paying Virginia taxes?

Posted by: Tom | June 20, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

If you like Kaine's plan, be sure to vote Obama this fall - more of the same - tax our way thru the problems.

Posted by: Kurt M. | June 20, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Tom , Sir your opinion does count. No disrespect meant.;)

Transplanted Bostonian, now Arlingtonian,

Sir, I must say I differ. The last two Governors of Virginia were Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner. One Republican and One Democrat. Before Jim Gilmore was George Allen another Republican with three Democratic terms prior to that.

As for the statement:
And we certainly can't forget about Senator Macaca losing to a Dem. I'm more than happy to help with my vote.
Please checkout the whole story behind the "Macaca incident"

It is a shame in our Great country where a Man who had an exemplary record can be taunted into making a statement and later apologize and repent and yet our Media at the lead of the great JIM WEBB Campaign, tears the George Allen campaign apart. The American People were blind to the bait being put on the hook, and they took it. Hook, line and sinker. I am a Retired Disabled US Marine and I am ashamed that Mr. Webb campaigned using the US Marine Corps as a token as having Great Values and Morals.(Honor Courage Commitment)He did none of those. No Honor in what he allowed to happen. No Courage to stand and say that this is not right. No Commitment to run an Honorable Campaign. NO US Marine would do what he did. As for you out there you are going to claim that it was his staff and not him. All great Leaders know that you are responsible for the actions of your troops Mr. Webb. What you did was unacceptable. And anyone who gets voted in as the newly elected Senator of Virginia and publicly on National T.V. verbally disrespects and attacks the President of The United States is not worthy or dignified to be a public official. That Sir is unbecoming of an officer as you well know. No matter how much you dislike the person you must respect the position. If you do not, this world will not make it. Sir , Once a Marine, Always a Marine. You never lose it. I conclude by saying this. Your real test of character is tested when people are not looking.

Semper Fidelis

Posted by: Albert Browder | June 20, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Northern Virginians know that if we tax ourselves for supporting "projects in our own areas" Richmond will steal that money and spend it elsewhere, which is why the last sales-tax referendum failed. GUARANTEE that the money won't go to RoVA, and see how quickly it gets enacted.

And to Albert - we'd gladly secede, and leave you to your God-fearing, $30,000 average per capita income, Republican-loving territory. Good luck providing basic services without NoVA's tax dollars for Richmond to spend. Too bad that's just a pipedream. Richmond may be useless, but they're not that stupid.

Wait till the GA election lines, etc., get redrawn based on the population shifts. Then NoVA will have a bit more muscle to flex with the good ole' boys in Richmond.

Posted by: DOA | June 20, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Albert: Actually, 38 years ago Northern Virginia was still rather bucolic. Dairy farms were very much the norm in places like Herndon and other towns in western Fairfax County and even closer to DC. Here on the eastern side, the McMansion craze had not even been conceived. Steadily over time land has been gobbled up by development, prompted by our noble businessmen-turned-politicians wanting to attract high-profile corporate headquarters to the area. This economic expansion was not attended by a correspondingly intelligent plan to allow time, funds, and construction for a necessary infrastructure to be laid in order to accommodate the overflowing influx of new residents. Democrat or Republican governance has made no difference whatsoever. The mess was never in control, so it is no wonder that it is out of control.

I would like to see some fairness, though. Taxes should apply equally throughout the state, if taxes are needed. Everyone's share of them could be less thereby. If one area of the state is a beleaguered cash cow, why shouldn't the rest of the state help it out? Our revenue and tax dollars are accepted quite readily. Why this separatist attitude as though by virtue of living in Northern Virginia we are somehow "unclean"? The residents of this area can't win. The State did not properly prepare the infrastructure to support its invitation for business, the rest of the state says "poor little rich kid," and the residents, many of whom, such as myself who have the same per capita income DOA attributes to Central Virginia, not only pay more, but have the privilege of being insulted as well.

As for the comment by get over yourselves, if this sounds like whining, I suggest you give rush hour on the beltway here a try for a week and let us know which lame proposed project you think will solve the problem.

Posted by: amiablehermit | June 20, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I forgot to mention that the Army is also expanding Ft. Belvoir by over 20,000 personnel (not including dependents) under the BRAC plan and is not terribly interested in cooperating with the local government to work out the foreseeable traffic madness that will ensue along Route 1 and other arteries. As a result, we can expect a major coronary in just a few years.

Posted by: amiablehermit | June 20, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

DOA :
and leave you to your God-fearing, $30,000 average per capita income, Republican-loving territory. Good luck providing basic services without NoVA's tax dollars for Richmond to spend. Too bad that's just a pipedream. Richmond may be useless, but they're not that stupid.

Well Well I guess the true "Colors" come out after all. There is nothing wrong with being God fearing, nothing wrong with making an honest living making $30,000.00 Per Cap. Republican loving....Well all i can say is The man with the best qualifications, Morals and holds True Values to heart would get my vote. "The pipedream" no sir...it is the American Dream my friend. Last I heard you are free to move about the country.

Semper Fidelis

Posted by: Anonymous | June 20, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

$30,000 is a lot of money if you aren't in the overpriced NIMBY hellhole of NOVA, where the NIMBY douchebags tell everyone to live inside the beltway even though there isn't enough housing and they oppose any new development

NOVA, go fukk yourselves

Posted by: Anonymous | June 21, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

I encourage everyone to view the video on www.BeatTheGridlock.com which helped me understand how the transportation woes affect all of Virginia.

Posted by: MGBlankenship | June 21, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

MGBlankenship: Thank you for this informative video. I think you also proved my point that ALL of Virginia ought to share in the cost of transportation infrastructure, not just a couple of localities. We should all be in this together since, indeed, it affects more places than people care to imagine.

Posted by: amiablehermit | June 22, 2008 4:48 AM | Report abuse

The problem with conservatives running Virginia for most of the last 400 years is that they made it such a nice place that liberals moved there instead of Maryland.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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