Transportation, business groups back McDonnell plan as a first step
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
Rosalind S. Helderman
| December 29, 2010; 1:56 PM ET
Categories: Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman, Transportation
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