STATEMENT OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR BOLLING ON CONCLUSION OF TRANSPORTATION SPECIAL SESSION
RICHMOND – Early this morning, the Virginia General Assembly adjourned Sine Die, ending the Special Session on transportation that had convened on June 23rd. In response to this action, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling issued the following statement:
“I am very disappointed that the General Assembly was unable to make any meaningful progress toward addressing Virginia’s transportation challenges during this Special Session. The failure to do so does not reflect well on anyone involved in this process, and it leaves one of the major challenges facing Virginia unresolved.
“Unfortunately, much of the responsibility for this failure rests on the shoulders of Governor Kaine, who decided to call legislators back to Richmond without building any consensus around a possible transportation solution. In my judgment, the Governor’s decision to call the Special Session without first developing a framework for success was a mistake.
“In addition, Governor Kaine complicated the effort to find a transportation solution by introducing a transportation proposal that had very little, if any, support in the General Assembly. The Governor’s bill, which relied on massive statewide and regional tax increases, was not even supported by the members of his own party, and it was clearly not the right solution given the economic challenges that Virginia is currently facing.
“I am also disappointed that Democrats in the General Assembly systematically defeated common sense Republican proposals that would have helped us address Virginia’s long term transportation needs, at least in part. I was particularly disappointed that Democrats rejected legislation that would have:
- Directed potential revenues associated with offshore drilling in Virginia to transportation.
- Enabled Hampton Roads localities to keep the tax revenues derived from the Port of Virginia and use those revenues to fund transportation projects in their region of the state.
- Enabled Northern Virginia localities to keep the tax revenue derived from the Dulles International Airport and the Ronald Reagan International Airport and use those revenues to fund transportation projects in their region of the state.
- Amended the Constitution of Virginia to prohibit the use of transportation dollars to pay for other government programs without super majority approval of the members of the General Assembly
- Ordered an external management review of the Virginia Department of Transportation to make certain that our transportation dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently and directed to our state’s highest transportation priority – congestion relief.
“These were commonsense proposals that should have received widespread bipartisan support. By rejecting these proposals without serious consideration or debate, Democrats showed that they are unwilling to seriously consider any solution to our transportation challenges that do not involve higher taxes.
“Fortunately, the General Assembly meets every year, and we will have another chance to address this issue in January. It remains my hope that the members of the General Assembly will work to craft a transportation solution that relies on existing revenue sources and innovative transportation alternatives, not higher taxes.”
Yes, I like Bill Bolling.