Updated: GOP Blasts Kaine on Transportation Spending
Republicans continued to blame Gov. Tim Kaine -- and his would-be successor Creigh Deeds -- for being slow in spending the state's share of federal stimulus money for transportation.
U.S. Frank Wolf and Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity, among others, criticized Kaine this morning on a conference call for not using the money for much-needed existing projects in congested Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
"We could use that money desperately,'' Wolf told reporters. "We're in a critical situation. The economic growth and the opportunities here depend on improving transportation. There are a lot of things up here that that money could be used for."
Republicans have been talking nonstop about transportation stimulus money since Friday, when the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee sent Kaine a stern letter that said the state is the last in the nation to spend its money.
"These projects have all been on the book for years. I just don't understand why they are not moving," Herrity said. "It seems we ought to be leading the pack, not behind the pack."
Deeds has pledged to govern in the same mold as Kaine and former governor Mark Warner, but Republicans argue that Kaine has not been a successful leader.
Kaine said in an interview over the weekend that officials worked as quickly as they could to devise a list of transportation projects that could use stimulus dollars after receiving public input, but that it took longer than other states because Virginia is using the money for new projects.
"Other states put their money into existing projects,'' he said. "We decided, look, if we're going to get money, let's do something that would add some new value. When you do new projects, instead of existing projects, it takes a little longer."
Kaine's office said the state could have used the stimulus money more quickly for projects in Northern Virginia, but that the region's three congressmen, Wolf, Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly specifically requested that Kaine focus on certain projects that dealt with congestion.
Updated: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would like you to know that Wolf did not vote to approve federal stimulus money earlier this year. "When Congressman Frank Wolf had the chance to support recovery funding for Northern Virginia, Wolf and all of his fellow Republicans just said no,'' said Ryan Rudominer, DCCC national press secretary. "But now, Congressman Wolf wants Virginia voters to forget he opposed the very same stimulus funding he now calls 'critical' and 'desperately needed."
October 5, 2009; 12:22 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Frank R. Wolf , Robert F. McDonnell , Timothy M. Kaine
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