Home Transportation Bob McDonnell on Transportation: All Talk, No Action

Bob McDonnell on Transportation: All Talk, No Action


Bob McDonnell says some nice things in this video about how great it would be if we’d all consider alternatives to “driving alone” in our cars, SUVS, and trucks.

So what’s the problem with the video? Simply this: Bob McDonnell mouths a few nice words about encouraging alternative transportation modes, but in reality – “where the rubber hits the road,” to stick with the transportation theme — his policies do absolutely nothing of the sort.

In fact, my headline was far too generous to McDonnell when it said “no action.” To the contrary, McDonnell’s actions all tend strongly in the exact opposite direction of where we need to go :encouraging a shift from our “oil addiction;” moving away from the “sprawl pattern” of development, ending the “magical thinking” that we can “pave our way out of it,” etc.

It’s the same thing with McDonnell’s vision for our 21st century energy economy, which he apparently believes should look almost exactly like the 19th and 20th century energy economies. Backward thinking, reactionary, totally misguided and counterproductive. That’s Bob McDonnell to a “tee,” but he’ll smile and tell you it’s all real nifty don’t you know?

By the way, it’s important to point out that Bob McDonnell is wildly exaggerating his “major transportation funding legislation,” as he calls it in this video. In reality, Elaine in Roanoke explained back in January, McDonnell’s transportation “plan” can be summarized as follows: “billions of dollars in debt for our children and grandchildren to pay, a tripling of the retail outlets that sell liquor, and tapping the General Fund for $140 million.”

McDonnell can claim all he wants to that the General Assembly passed a “major” piece of legislation for Virginia’s transportation system, but in fact it’s about as minor and insignificant as you can get in the grand scheme of things. Unless, that is, you consider funhouses filled with smoke and mirrors to be “major.”

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    What transportation in the Commonwealth needs to meet whatever the future holds is a steady new source of revenue for all forms of transportation, private auto and mass transit. The last governor to actually achieve that was Gerald Baliles (1986-1990). He – and a General Assembly controlled by Democrats – enacted revenue increases that injected about $500 million annually into transportation. Note well that he did not rob the General Fund, nor did he advocate massive debt.

    That cowardly little fellow Bob McDonnell and the GOPers in the House of Delegates can’t solve the transportation crisis because they have painted themselves into a corner with their insistence that any tax increase is the devil’s work.

    While it would have been easy to phase in a 5-10 cent increase in the state gasoline tax last year, now that’s politically impossible because of the run-up in gas prices in the last few months. Yet, even a gas tax hike may not be a solution because the rising gasoline prices will inevitably result in curtailing demand for it, thus curtailing revenue from the tax.

    We need leadership on this issue that’s able to “think outside of the box.” McDonnell and the GOP don’t even have a box to get out of.