McDonnell offers voice of reason in transportation debate

As soon as the Virginia House of Delegates passed HB 2313, the bi-partisan transportation bill, with a 60-40 vote, protests went out from no new taxes conservatives and libertarians. Their immediate cry was to drum the delegates who supported the bill out of office, all within minutes of the vote. At a time when many are suffering financially difficult times, reactions were swift and emotional.

The House and Senate came up with the 100-page compromise bill that was different from the version Governor Bob McDonnell originally submitted. However, the Governor along with Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling supported the bill and urged its passage.

“I did not get everything I wanted in the final bill,” McDonnell said on the John Fredericks radio show on Friday, “but no one did…that’s called compromise.”

Bolling commented in a press release, “This is not a perfect plan … no compromise is perfect and no one gets everything they want. … This is a deal that generates real money for transportation and it will finally solve our long term transportation funding needs.”

The Washington Post wrote that “the compromise forced Republicans to agree to higher taxes while requiring Democrats to change their opposition to diverting additional funds raised by sales taxes, known as the general fund, to roads.”

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli disagreed with the bill. Governor McDonnell told Fredericks he was disappointed that the AG was not on board, but not surprised.  ” ‘He only had a draft version of the bill and spreadsheets, but not the full language,’ the governor said. McDonnell hinted that Cuccinelli’s ultimate view of the bill might evolve over time.”

Thank goodness for the voices of reason within the GOP.

The Post noted that both sides of the aisle worked together to bring about a compromise that would be acceptable to most:

Del. S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), a chief architect of the compromise, thanked the governor for starting the process, and he thanked several Democrats, including Del. Vivian E. Watts of Fairfax, a former transportation secretary, for working out the nitty-gritty details.

Jones urged members to vote for the bill, saying that any pact forces people on each side of a conflict to accept something they might not like but that both sides need.

The transportation package approved by the House was markedly different from the initiative initially pushed by McDonnell and sponsored by House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). But supporters credited the governor with setting the bill in motion and Howell for removing a key hurdle when he killed a surprise redistricting plan that Senate Republicans shoved through the evenly divided chamber when a Democratic senator was out of town.

The final version of the bill brought a protest from some conservative bloggers who signed an open letter condemning the bill even as a Republican governor tried to get some traction on an issue that had been overlooked for 30 years.

Not all conservative bloggers disagreed with the transportation bill and some are speaking up, pointing out the reasons Virginia needs to address an ever-growing problem. One blogger opined that the anti-tax crowd is killing the GOP.

In reality, no plan would have satisfied everyone. The alternative was to kick the can down the road and let the next occupant of the Executive Mansion worry about it, or the next or the next or the next. The Governor demonstrated leadership even in the face of loud protests from conservatives.

Let me take this opportunity to thank Governor McDonnell for taking the heat and standing up for this bill. He and his staff have researched and know far more than many who are protesting it and, quite frankly, I voted for him to make the tough decisions. He did his job.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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  • Xerxes


    Oh, Lynn, look at the Medicaid expansion! If the Governor and the General Assembly caves to this form of legislative terrorism, then conservatism in Virginia is truly dead

  • Loudoun GOPer

    Lynn, we did not get a compromise. What we got was capitulation. Republicans agree to raise taxes, and Democrats get an expansion of Medicaid in order to implement Obamacare. Sounds like a win/win for the Democrats. What exactly did the Republicans get? Oh, yeah. The further disappointment and frustration of conservatives and the very real threat of the formation of a libertarian third party that will hand complete control of the government to the Democrats for the forseeable future.
    Way ta go, RINOS!!

  • pinecone321

    There are many on the right that acknowledge that the Obama supporters will elevate their messiah no matter what he says or does. They worship at his feet. It is distasteful and quite frankly disgusting when we watch some in our own party do the same, especially when the one worshipped has promised, and then abandoned all the promises. This article meets that criteria.

    The Democrats do not compromise. They make their list of demands, then add to it, and add to it again. The Republicans are lucky if they are served even a worthy amount of crumbs. The article makes clear itself that what was passed is much different than what McDonnell first proposed, but he was so desperate to get a bill passed, he was willing to sell out conservatism in order to get something, anything.

    Not as a threat, but as a fact, when McDonnell tries to step up on the next rung of the political ladder, this will come back to bite him big time in the butt. It will be deserved.

  • pinecone321

    Has anyone had the opportunity to read the 100 page or so compromise deal? I understand it was only released to the legislative members on the night of Feb. 21. The public had no opportunity to read what their representatives were voting on. We’ve seen this kind of tactic before with Obamacare- It had to be passed in order to see what was in it.

    Thankfully my guy Reeves didn’t vote for this abomination as I knew he wouldn’t. My house guy also voted against this, Rob Bell, again as I knew he wouldn’t.

  • I constantly hear the cry, “We need statesmen who’ll make the tough decisions!” And when a politician does make a tough decision, the same people cry, “Get a rope!”

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