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Posted at 1:56 PM ET, 12/29/2010

Transportation, business groups back McDonnell plan as a first step

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Rosalind S. Helderman

A broad consortium of business, transportation and construction groups has endorsed Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to spend $4 billion on roads over the next three years, $2.9 billion of it borrowed money--with the caveat that the plan is merely a down payment on the crumbling transportation system's vast needs.

In a joint statement, leaders of the 26 groups--which include the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, the Homebuilders Association of Virginia and chambers of commerce from across the state including Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties, write that McDonnell's plan would help "the Commonwealth to leverage and make some of its scarce transportation resources go further."

"Fully implemented and prudently invested, the Governor's proposals can add much needed capacity to Virginia's transportation network, put more people to work and improve our economy," the statement said.

The statement of support is an important one for McDonnell (R), who will spend the upcoming legislative session fending off charges from Democrats that the proposal represents reckless borrowing. The groups counter that they believe the bond sales would be prudent and creative uses of existing state money.

But they warn the plan will not address the longterm needs of Virginia roads, which they say require $1 billion in "new, recurring revenues." In the context of Virginia's decades-long transportation debate, that's usually code for a tax increase, which McDonnell has ruled out.

They note that McDonnell has, however, said the system needs more revenue in the long-term. And they said they agree with the governor's own contention that there has been a bipartisan failure to properly fund transportation in Virginia.

Read the entire statement and see a list of signatories after the jump.

Joint statement of business and transportation groups:
The infusion of dependable, dedicated transportation funds is critical to putting Virginia's transportation program on a sound financial footing and ensuring sustained economic growth.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has proposed investing $4 billion to accelerate road, transit and rail projects in the Commonwealth over the next three years.

Fully implemented and prudently invested, the Governor's proposals can add much needed capacity to Virginia's transportation network, put more people to work and improve our economy.

We believe that creative use of existing revenues to capitalize the proposed Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and the prudent use of bonds will help address the Commonwealth's chronic transportation infrastructure needs.

Using bonds, in this limited manner, will allow the Commonwealth to leverage and make some of its scarce transportation resources go further. All bonds proposed will use debt allocations already authorized under current Virginia law. The bond packages will be serviced by current existing revenue streams. The use of toll credits will leverage these dollars and will free-up state revenues that will fund new projects. This is smart management and the prudent use of existing revenues.

Still, Virginia's aging infrastructure requires at least $1 billion a year in new, recurring revenues. Governor McDonnell has stated he understands that his initiative is a short-term infusion of funds into a system that over the long-term requires new dedicated and sustainable revenues. On December 17, 2010 the Governor told the General Assembly money committees that "I've talked a little about bipartisan successes in economic development and budgeting; well transportation funding is a bipartisan failure." We agree.

The Commonwealth must invest additional funds into its transportation system. We appreciate Governor McDonnell's proposals to jump-start a number of critical transportation projects that will put many Virginians back to work as well as his ongoing commitment to secure a long-term funding solution for the Commonwealth. We look forward to continuing to work with and help him fulfill that commitment to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance
Old Dominion Highway Contractors Association
Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance
Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce
Home Builders Association of Virginia
Virginia Railroad Association
Heavy Construction Contractors Association
Prince William Chamber of Commerce
American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia
Hampton Roads Transit
Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate
Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce
Associated Builders and Contractors-Virginia Chapter
Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate
Roanoke Regional Chamber
Richmond Area Municipal Contractors Association
NAIOP Northern Virginia, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association
Arlington Chamber of Commerce
Virginia Asphalt Association
Virginia Transit Association
Associated General Contractors of Virginia
Springfield Chamber of Commerce
Washington Airports Task Force
Virginia Ready Mix Concrete Association
American Concrete Pavement Association-Mid Atlantic Chapter
Northern Virginia Building Industry Association

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | December 29, 2010; 1:56 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Transportation  
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Comments

For "More Trains, Less Traffic" open letter to the Governor.

Dear Governor,

Build Rail now. We agree. Virginia needs jobs! Jobs! Jobs! You wrote recently (Washington Post editorial March 25, 2010 with five other Governors), " Every dollar invested in building rail creates 25 dollars in new jobs, goods, and services."

Rail is great for Virginia, America and our economy. Rail is the economic engine Virginia, and America needs.

In that editorial with other Governors, quote, “A new crescent (freight) rail corridor would get traffic and the economy moving again."

This new 2,500 mile rail line would benefit Virginia, America, the environment, the economy. Rail would create tens of thousands of jobs. Move trucks off crowded highways like I-81.”

New rail saves lives. 33,000 Americans are killed, 330,000 injured yearly on American highways. Rail is safer.

Governor, you and I both served in the U.S. military, and at about the same time in Germany. We learned the economic intelligence of a great rail system for a nation.

Rail is a national security issue. New American rail like Germany’s expands abilities to move people, goods, necessary equipment every day, and especially in a crisis.

Thanks to a great green rail system, energy intelligence, and the growing green energy economy. Germany is booming. Unemployment is a third less than America’s. They get nearly 20 per cent of their energy from renewables.

I was in Germany a few weeks ago in Freiburg for the Green Party convention. Studied at Freiburg University 30 years ago.

Now the German newsmagazine der Spiegel calls the new economic and political thriving economy, “The Green Party wonder”. Greens are the party of rail and renewable energy.

Even Freiburg, a conservative southern capital of Schwabenland, is known as a Green City, with a Green Party mayor.
So every dollar invested in rail creates $25 dollars in new jobs and intelligent economic benefit.

Investing $3 to 4 billion in building rail creates $75 to $100 billion in jobs and economic benefit for Virginia over the next three years. It’s better than winning the lottery.

Virginia’s entire state budget for two years is only $77 billion.

Building rail is brilliant. Build rail now.

Finally, you and your family might enjoy visiting Germany again. Our family loved it.

And, I’m sure the German family I lived with 30 years ago, and our family stayed with again a few weeks ago would love to host you. Take the trains. Ride the rails.

Carey Campbell

State Chairman

Independent Greens of Virginia

www.VoteJoinRun.US

Independent Greens new Youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/IndependentGreens?feature=mhum#g/u

703-351-1235

Posted by: CareyCampbell | December 30, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

For Rail Independent Greens Chairman open letter to Governor
This is an open letter to the Governor.

Dear Governor,

Build Rail now. We agree. Virginia needs jobs! Jobs! Jobs! You wrote in a Washington Post editoral on March 25, 2010 " Every dollar invested in building rail creates 25 dollars in new jobs, goods, and services."

Rail is great for Virginia, America and our economy. Rail is the economic engine Virginia, and America needs.

You wrote in an editorial with five other Governors, quote, “A new crescent (freight) rail corridor would get traffic and the economy moving again."

This new 2,500 mile rail line would benefit Virginia, America, the environment, the economy. Rail would create tens of thousands of jobs. Move trucks off crowded highways like I-81.”

New rail saves lives. 33,000 Americans are killed, 330,000 injured yearly on American highways. Rail is safer.

Governor, you and I both served in the U.S. military, and at about the same time in Germany. We learned the economic intelligence of a great rail system for a nation.

Rail is a national security issue. New American rail like Germany’s expands abilities to move people, goods, necessary equipment every day, and especially in a crisis.

Thanks to a great green rail system, energy intelligence, and the growing green energy economy. Germany is booming. Unemployment is a third less than America’s. They get nearly 20 per cent of their energy from renewables.

I was in Germany two weeks ago in Freiburg for the Green Party convention. Studied at Freiburg University 30 years ago.

Now the German newsmagazine der Spiegel calls the new economic and political wonder, “The Green Party wonder”. Greens are the party of rail and renewable energy.

Even Freiburg, a conservative southern capital of Schwabenland, is known as a Green City, with a Green Party mayor.

Press reports you’ll ask the state legislature to spend an additional $400 million immediately and $2.9 billion over the next three years on transportation.

So every dollar invested in rail it creates $25 dollars in new jobs and intelligent economic benefit.

Investing $3 billion in building rail creates $75 billion in jobs and economic benefit for Virginia over the next three years. It’s better than winning the lottery.

Virginia’s entire state budget for two years is only $77 billion.

Building rail is brilliant. Build rail now.

Finally, you and your family might enjoy visiting Germany again. Our family loved it.

And, I’m sure the German family I lived with 30 years ago, and our family stayed with again two weeks ago would love to host you. Take the trains. Ride the rails.

Carey Campbell

State Chairman

Independent Greens of Virginia

www.VoteJoinRun.US

Independent Greens new Youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/IndependentGreens?feature=mhum#g/u

703-351-1235

Posted by: CareyCampbell | December 30, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

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