Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Virginia’s New Governor Shows His Cards: No Plan for Transportation

9:45 AM EST on January 15, 2010

Three months ago, Ryan Avent wrote on this page about Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Creigh Deeds' (D) ill-fated push to make transportation a central part of his campaign. The peril was clear to Ryan at the time: With little political appetite for congestion pricing and a stalled federal transport bill, Deeds had big ideas but no way to deliver them to voters.

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a621ca48970b_600wi.jpgVirginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will take office tomorrow. (Photo: LAT)

Deeds ultimately lost to Republican Bob McDonnell, for reasons that went far beyond transportation. But the fallout from both Virginia candidates' failures to seriously address slow transit expansion and crippling congestion has only just begun. As the Washington Post reports today:

Despite making transportation a top priority during last year'scampaign, Gov.-elect Robert F. McDonnell (R) said Thursday that he willnot propose a fix during this year's legislative session.

"There are only so many things the General Assembly and I can do wellin a short period of time," McDonnell said in an interview. "I don'tthink that there are enough hours in the day for the General Assemblyto evaluate that plan and for me to build the consensus to get itpassed."

As a candidate, McDonnell pledged to tackle transportation rightaway, and as recently as last month he said he would propose ways tofund transportation "at some point during his first year."

The piece goes on to quote McDonnell, touted by the GOP as an emerging national leader, leaving the door open for a possible special session to deal with the $893 million swoon in Virginia's transportation budget -- but only if he is guaranteed to win:

"We are not going to go into a session and fail," he said. "That's a waste of taxpayers' money."

McDonnell didn't opine on whether the state's broken transport system is more or less of a "waste of taxpayers' money" than legislators attempting to fix the problem.

In the meantime, he vowed to press on with four transportation plans that make no attempt to address the state's revenue crisis: reopening highway rest stops that were closed last year to save money, raising speed limits on rural interstates, forging public-private partnerships for road projects, and issuing bonds.

Some voters may be left to wonder whether the 2009 campaign would have ended differently had Deeds made the connection between reining in pollution and improving transportation options, rather than taking a McDonnell-influenced line against action on climate change.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Are So Fresh and So Clean

The only thing Americans love more than a car is a clean car.

February 23, 2024

CalBike: Tell the Legislature Hands Off Active Transportation Funding

Calbike has an action alert that allows its members to write directly to legislators with their feelings on whether or not the ATP funding should be restored before the legislature votes on the budget in June.

February 22, 2024

Oakland Rips Out Protected Bike Lane on Embarcadero

The city and the councilmember who represents District 2 complain about lack of resources for safety projects, but somehow they have the resources to rip out protected bike lanes.

February 22, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: The Annual Yonah Freemark Show, Part II

This week, let's talk about transit funding in general and the Roosevelt Boulevard subway in Philadelphia, specifically.

February 22, 2024

State DOTs Spend Even More Money on Highway Expansions Than We Thought

Advocates knew states would go on a highway widening binge when the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed — but they didn't know it would be quite this bad.

February 22, 2024
See all posts