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Why Does State Senator Amanda Chase Want You To Pay $46 Tolls?

All it took was a wink towards the Democrats in the Virginia State Senate, and the deal was done.

State Senator Amanda Chase is finding herself under all sorts of new scrutiny over the last few weeks.  If Chase’s open carry of firearms inside the Pocahontas Building reminding folks of a pack of overweight dudes carrying their AR-15s into a Chipotle wasn’t enough, and if recruiting candidates to run against fellow Republicans in primary contests hits closer to home (more on this later… maybe…) and isn’t forcing folks to scratch their heads a bit, a backroom deal cut with Virginia Democrats to keep Terry McAuliffe’s friends in clover?  Now that’s just downright perplexing.

The bill was SB1654, patroned by State Senator Bill Stanley [1] and co-patroned by 21 state senators — Amanda Chase among them.

What would the bill do?  The legislation is designed to make sure that folks who are using the Dulles Greenway in Northern Virginia do not find themselves paying for improvements that do not pertain to that specific road.  Namely, if the Australian firm that is managing these roads — infrastructure Virginia taxpayers have already paid for, mind you — decides to embark on a rather expensive new road project elsewhere?  Virginians won’t be subsidizing transportation projects in New Jersey.

For those who have not been following the “Terry Tolls” saga, the outrageous rates have gone as high as $46 one way during peak hours [2].  For those Republicans who live in districts such as State Senator Dick Black’s seat?  These tolls aren’t just punitive.  To the working poor, they are the difference between getting home to your kids to cook dinner and sitting in your car explaining to them on the phone why you are late… again.

Why Chase turned her back on the entire Senate Republican Caucus on the Dulles Greenway remains a mystery at this point.  Chase could have offered an explanation to her peers (she has not).  Chase could have offered an explanation to her constituents (she has chosen not to do so).  Chase could have explained her switchback to any number of folks…

No one knows why she did it.

Now perhaps it was a momentary lapse of judgment.  Certainly there are legislative procedures that permit her to change her vote, having cast with the majority.  Perhaps the explanations in the coming days as to what destroying this bill has done will force a moment’s reconsideration to do the right thing.

As it stands now, Virginia Democrats have won a tremendous victory thanks to Amanda Chase, one that will not only cost Republicans the Virginia State Senate, but potentially give legislation such as Delegate Kathy Tran’s infanticide bill [3] the oxygen it needs to sail through a Democratic-controlled State Senate, with Black’s seat firmly in Democratic hands thanks to political bungling back in Richmond.

Certainly Terry McAuliffe is happy with Amanda Chase at the moment.  Let’s hope her colleagues in the Virginia Senate can give her reasons to reconsider.