Friday, March 7, 2008

Saslaw Turns His Back On NOVA And Hampton Roads!

Just as I suspected ... Senator Saslaw is once again putting partisan politics as his top priority, while turning his back Virginians and more particularly, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

The basic differences (which are also pointed out in the press release below) are that the Senate is ....

  1. Unnecessarily jeopardizing and delaying regional transportation funding.
  2. Costing Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads $1 Million for transportation for EVERY DAY of inaction.
  3. Wanting to "stiff" Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads of their fair share of transportation funds by sending billions of dollars downstate to Richmond, only to see 1/3 of it come back.

As Delegate Dave Albo so eloquently stated below ... "Bringing up new statewide revenues and tax increases that have been repeatedly rejected isn’t negotiating, it’s posturing."

I could not agree more.

UPDATE: Word in the GAB is that a transportation compromise could be reached within 24hrs if the Senator in purple shown above will quit playing games and start doing the good peoples work ...

House Transportation NegotiatorsFocus on Regional Fix to Comply with Court Decision

RICHMOND, VA – In a letter to Senators Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), Yvonne B. Miller (D-Norfolk), and W. Roscoe Reynolds (D-Martinsville), negotiators for the House of Delegates rejected the proposal of the Democrat Senators to increase taxes statewide on gasoline and on vehicle sales. Delegates H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), M. Kirkland “Kirk” Cox (R-Colonial Heights), and Samuel A. Nixon, Jr. (R-Chesterfield) have been working diligently to bring the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regional funding components of the Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007 (HB 3202) into compliance with the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court in Marshall v. NVTA .

Wanting to resolve the impasse as quickly as possible, House negotiators are insisting that negotiations be focused on correcting those provisions of HB 3202 that were struck down by the Court’s decision. Their letter notes, “An immediate remedy to this specific problem is readily available to us. Injecting issues unrelated to the ‘regional fix’ necessitated by the Court’s decision will deny the benefits of those previously approved regional solutions to commuters, families and businesses in our Commonwealth’s fastest-growing regions.”

House negotiators place the responsibility for any delay in approving a speedy remedy squarely with their Senate counterparts, taking them to task for seeking to expand the scope of the legislative discussions. “Unfortunately, you raise issues that go well beyond remedying the effects of the Virginia Supreme Court’s decision in Marshall v. NVTA ,” the letter, signed by all three delegates, observed. “By doing so, you are needlessly delaying and jeopardizing implementation of the regional transportation funding program that we approved on a bipartisan basis just last year.”

“There’s absolutely no reason to delay resolving this situation,” declared Delegate David B. Albo (R-Fairfax). “Bringing up new statewide revenues and tax increases that have been repeatedly rejected isn’t negotiating, it’s posturing. Every day they fail to agree to a fix, Northern Virginia loses $1,000,000 in revenues for roads and public transit. By revisiting already rejected proposals, the Senators are keeping my constituents – and millions living, working and commuting in Northern Virginia – needlessly stuck in traffic.”

“Although I can appreciate the desire of the Senators to get as much as they can in these negotiations, and I know these three Democrat Senators have frequently expressed support for higher taxes, the Court’s decision did not say ‘raise the gas tax and the car sales tax’,” noted House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith. “It said we needed to change the method of enactment for the regional components of HB 3202 to ensure a body of elected officials imposed the taxes. That – and that alone – should be the focus of our negotiations.”

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Crystal Clear Conservative said...

Saslaw and the Democrats are both alike. They are tax and spend. Remember a famous quote from Saslaw, "I love taxes, you can't give me enough money." So, it is really no surprise to hear this news.

Remember, Republicans can play their games too. Get up, walk out, and give them some cheese with that "whine."

Anonymous said...

Where to begin?

HB 3202 is so badly flawed that the General Assembly should welcome the opportunity to revisit their mistakes - and perhaps this time, actually place a plan on the table that helps reduce traffic congestion in Tidewater.

Here in Tidewater our MPO has been hijacked by special interests and they hatched a plan for "6 projects" costing an estimated $9B - a plan that doesn't reduce traffic congestion, but is designed mostly to allow the state-owned PORT to expand.

HB 3202 was the son of the 2002 SB 686 that resulted in a regional referendum in Tidewater - one where the same "6 projects" were soundly rejected at the ballot box.

Instead of taking the past 5 years to protect the Transportation Trust Fund from future raids - and the Transportation funds continuing to be diverted into the General Fund - we find nothing has been done by the General Assembly and we are needlessly subject to having much of the new taxes and fees robbed too.

The MPO "plan" for Tidewater doesn't solve our very real commuter traffic congestion problems - it is a speculative economic development "hope" - marketed as some sort of "solution" for traffic congestion!

Adding more lane capacity to the HRBT is not included in HB 3202 - a glaring and obviously mistake.

We all know this is a mistake - yet this story advances the foolish notion that the "plan" HB 3202 funded for Tidewater was just fine and ducky - just as it was written - written by the Hampton Roads Partnership and other special interest business lobbies - oh, and let's not forget the Virginia Port Authority. They too are a major lobbyist in support of HB 3202 - and the wrong set of road projects that HB 3202 is locked into funding!

Only a fool or someone completely ignorant about Tidewater would attempt to claim that all that is wrong with HB 3202 is for Richmond to find a way to circumvent the state Constitution - and force the citizens of Tidewater to suffer REGIONAL TAXES to pay for the state owned PORT expansion infrastructure!

-Reid Greenmun
Virginia Beach Taxpayer’s Alliance
Transportation Chairman