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Posted at 4:52 PM ET, 12/10/2010

Updated: Some conservatives oppose McDonnell's transportation plan

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

We expected reaction to Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan from Democrats to be less than friendly -- and it has been.

But what about those in his own party? It turns out some of them also have problems with McDonnell's proposal to borrow an additional $2.9 billion over the next three years for roads and bridges.

"It is important that we properly fund transportation without increasing our unfunded liabilities. We are disappointed that Governor McDonnell would have Virginia borrow more money at a time when voters have spoken overwhelmingly against such practices,'' said Ben Marchi, state director of Americans for Prosperity, generally a supporter of McDonnell's. "Virginians expect government to live within its means, and it is hard to imagine borrowing more money while unfunded liabilities like the Virginia Retirement System remain in debt. Virginia should fulfill these obligations before even thinking about borrowing another penny."

Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), one of the most conservative members of the House, said he has concerns about taking on more debt, particularly if its means exceeding the state's self-imposed cap. He said he wants to review a list of proposed projects -- which he said should involve congestion mitigation and economic payback or shouldn't be on the list.

"It's too much,'' Del. Brenda L. Pogge (R-York) said. "We can't afford it right now. We should not be borrowing and spending. We should sit tight and let the economy get well."'

Updated, 7 p.m. McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said Marchi was offered "multiple opportunities" Friday to receive a briefing on the plan, but did not respond. "If Mr. Marchi had taken the time to learn about this plan he would have quickly found that it is a common-sense plan that does not increase Virginia's authorized tax supported debt,'' Martin said in a statement. "It does not rely on any new tax supported debt. Unlike the federal government, Virginia bonds are used for tangible, capital assets and not to fund operating expenses."

By Anita Kumar  | December 10, 2010; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell, Transportation  
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Do any of the fools who are protesting the borrowing of money to fix the embarrassing VA roads ever drive on I95 north of Richmond? If they drove that road, they'd be 'begging' for moneys to improve it. I keep having to get a front end alignment from driving that road, to say nothing of sitting in horrible traffic any day or time of the week.

Posted by: kinsman_bob | December 10, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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