By John Fredericks
Conservatives who are deriding Virginia’s pending transportation compromise are peddling a delusional response to a landmark transportation reform package that is finally aimed at addressing the Commonwealth’s economic crippling 30-year transportation crisis.
The failure to find and fund a serious solution to our roads and traffic congestion dilemma is threatening the entire long-term financial stability of Virginia.
If we don’t fund at least $1-2 billion per year in infrastructure improvements that include major capital investments in new roads, bridges and tunnels, we’ll repel new business growth, force companies out of the state, lose mammoth port business opportunities from the widening of the Panama Canal, and jeopardize the Navy’s Norfolk aircraft carrier base contingent.
The result: we’ll eventually bankrupt the state due to declining job growth and a shrinking economic pie. This will make sequestration look like child’s play by comparison.
But logic has trumped sound reason for some otherwise sober conservatives who are caught up in the knee-jerk amen corner of the right-wing Grover Norquist typecast ideologue fringe.
Press releases and e-mail posts have filled cyberspace with brazen rhetoric accusing anyone who is considering this deal a RINO, a liberal — or in the words of some – being against the federalist papers and dismissing James Madison, abandoning the U.S. Constitution, dishing George Washington, and even selling out to Vladimir Lenin.
These sound bites about “no new taxes” and “Republicans sold out” might be politically expedient, but they defy political reality, deny logic and decry common sense.
You can’t fund $2 billion per year from the general fund when we have a divided government.
Leadership requires tough choices in crisis.
Bottom line: we can do this conservative alpha chest beating all day long — it might get you a booking on Fox News or a quote in the Daily Caller — but it doesn’t address the real problem at hand.
This is not a perfect bill. It has some major flaws, like the fact that it does not legally mandate a transportation lock-box for the funds. Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will have an opportunity to reconcile some of that when, and if, it gets to his desk.
House of Delegates Speaker William Howell (R) said on our radio show on February 21 that he has the 51 votes necessary for the deal to pass the House.
The bill’s fate is in the hands of an evenly divided state senate.
I commend the governor for displaying the guts and exemplifying the necessary political courage to force a real solution in this general assembly session.
Those who are opposed need to forward a specific plan of his or her own — that has a realistic chance of becoming law — or ratchet down the rhetorical discourse.
Denial of this compromise is economic suicide for short-term “feel good” political gain.
I advocate passage of this bill. We need to fix our roads now and we have to pay for it.
Companies will no longer locate to this state or expand their current operations without a comprehensive transportation plan.
It’s taken 30 years. We can’t lose another 30 days.
John Fredericks is syndicated radio talk show host in Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., and Virginia and can be heard M-F 6-9 a.m. on WTNT –AM 730 & 102.9FM in D.C., WLEE AM 990 in Richmond, WHKT AM 1650 in Tidewater and WBRG AM 1050 & 104.5 FM in Lynchburg – Roanoke or streaming online at www.thejohnfredericksshow.com. The opinions expressed in sponsored posts are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Virginia Line Media, LLC or its officers.