Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli has crossed the Rubicon and announced his opposition to the compromise transportation plan. From his press release:
“I applaud the governor and the General Assembly for taking action to address the serious problem of transportation in Virginia. To continue to grow our economy and create new jobs, we need a reliable transportation network that businesses can use to quickly ship their products and that will ease congestion for commuters in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. I have not yet seen the final conference report, and so my comments are necessarily limited until I have the opportunity to read the bill.
“If localities are given more authority to address their most urgent transportation needs, that would be an element that I strongly support, and it would be an element that addresses one of the most fundamental disconnects in Virginia transportation today: the one between those responsible for land use planning and those responsible for transportation planning. However, the details of this have not been forthcoming, and we need to ensure that any structural changes meet constitutional muster.
“The bill that has reportedly come out of conference is vastly different than the proposals made by Governor McDonnell earlier this session and appears to have a very different fiscal impact on the General Fund and Virginia taxpayers. If reports are correct, this new bill contemplates a massive tax increase. In these tough economic times, I do not believe Virginia’s middle class families can afford massive tax increases, and I cannot support legislation that would ask the taxpayers to shoulder an even heavier burden than they are already carrying, especially when the government proposes to do so little belt tightening in other areas of the budget.
“I believe that every member of the General Assembly should have the opportunity to thoroughly review this new legislation in its entirety once it becomes available, evaluate the fiscal impact it will have on the people of Virginia, and determine if this proposed legislation will actually resolve our serious transportation problems before it is brought to the floor for a vote.
“Addressing the transportation needs of Virginia is a very complex matter and there are no easy solutions. I applaud the governor and the General Assembly for working to address the critical issue, but we must make sure that the final legislation meets our core obligations, addresses our transportation problems, and does not harm our economy. With Virginia families and business facing rising gas prices, increased regulatory burdens and taxes from the federal government, and the fiscal impact of the federal health care law dramatically rising as we approach the 2014 implementation, we cannot ask them to fund another enormous tax increase.”
Alea iacta est — the die is cast.