Sunday, March 03, 2013

More rational voices come out for Va. transportation bill

Here are more voices of reason after the historic transportation bill passed by the Virginia General Assembly in a bipartisan vote of 44 Republicans and 43 Democrats.

With Respect To Transportation, Have Conservatives Forgotten Reagan?
By Daniel Cortez
Bearing Drift
The ideological war for conservative purity has never been greater as attacks from purveyors of party principle question the wisdom of Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation reformation. Well they criticized Ronald Reagan too.

McDonnell masterfully garnered 50 percent of Republican legislators and a bi-partisan mixture of 44 republicans and 43 democrats supporting his historic bill. And seizing on the moment, democrats attempt to steal the spotlight and take credit for the legislation recognizing Virginia’s future employment outlook once H.B. 2313 is implemented.

Sadly as inner family protestations over the taxable components of the bill continue, perhaps it is prudent to remind hard corps conservatives there are no guarantees of no or low taxes constitutionally.

Nevertheless attempts to skewer McDonnell over actions Reagan similarly took as governor and president do little to advance party unity in the eyes of changing voter demographics.

Examples are the recent shrill ranting of commentator Mark Levin stating “The Republican party cannot survive and doesn’t deserve to survive,” over McDonnell’s actions and pledging to personally oppose each and every member of the state house who voted for the bill. The self-appointed Godfather of in your face conservatism, perhaps needs a sedative and a reality check.
Read the rest ... it gets even better. Good job, Daniel.

McDonnell’s leadership finally fills transportation pothole
By Jeffrey C. Southard
Richmond Times-Dispatch
For a generation, the General Assembly struggled to find a way to fix our crumbling infrastructure, but to no avail. In the past five years alone we saw more than 50 transportation-funding bills introduced in the General Assembly that would have addressed the long-term funding needs of the commonwealth … and all failed.

As each year passed, Virginia found itself in more and more trouble. Come 2013 and red lights were going off all over the system. We had taken more than $3 billion out of our road construction program in the past 10 years to fund basic maintenance. Our secondary road program was defunct due to a lack of funding.

Our debt service was $300 million a year and growing. The estimated economic loss due to congestion was more than $3 billion a year. We were 43rd in the nation in per capita spending on transportation. And worst of all, we knew our road construction money would be gone in a few years.

Some conservatives thought there was a simple solution: Reform the Virginia Department of Transportation, prioritize projects better, borrow more and put more general fund money in transportation.

The fact of the matter was, those had been tried and they weren’t working.
Keep reading ... it's an insightful piece from the executive vice president of the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance.

When the rhetoric doesn't hit the road
By John Fredericks, conservative radio host
Conservatives who are deriding Virginia’s pending transportation compromise are peddling a delusional response to a landmark transportation reform package that is finally aimed at addressing the Commonwealth’s economic crippling 30-year transportation crisis.

The failure to find and fund a serious solution to our roads and traffic congestion dilemma is threatening the entire long-term financial stability of Virginia.

If we don’t fund at least $1-2 billion per year in infrastructure improvements that include major capital investments in new roads, bridges and tunnels, we’ll repel new business growth, force companies out of the state, lose mammoth port business opportunities from the widening of the Panama Canal, and jeopardize the Navy’s Norfolk aircraft carrier base contingent.

The result: we’ll eventually bankrupt the state due to declining job growth and a shrinking economic pie. This will make sequestration look like child’s play by comparison.

But logic has trumped sound reason for some otherwise sober conservatives who are caught up in the knee-jerk amen corner of the right-wing Grover Norquist typecast ideologue fringe.

Press releases and e-mail posts have filled cyberspace with brazen rhetoric accusing anyone who is considering this deal a RINO, a liberal — or in the words of some – being against the federalist papers and dismissing James Madison, abandoning the U.S. Constitution, dishing George Washington, and even selling out to Vladimir Lenin.

These sound bites about “no new taxes” and “Republicans sold out” might be politically expedient, but they defy political reality, deny logic and decry common sense.

You can’t fund $2 billion per year from the general fund when we have a divided government.

Leadership requires tough choices in crisis.

Bottom line: we can do this conservative alpha chest beating all day long — it might get you a booking on Fox News or a quote in the Daily Caller — but it doesn’t address the real problem at hand.
There's more that is worth reading.

The rhetoric needs to ratchet down. After anti-tax tea partiers called those who supported the Governor names like "establishment" and "RINOs," they have now changed the dialogue to call those same supporters "socialists." That type of blind rhetoric will not bring the party back together. The chasm widens.

True Courage and Leadership from Governor Bob McDonnell
By Phil Tran
Chesapeake Liaison
Congratulations to Governor Bob McDonnell on the passage of the transportation bill. In 2009, he campaigned as a pragmatic, solutions-oriented candidate for Governor who would be willing to work with “Democrats, Republicans, and independents” to create a Commonwealth of Opportunity. He advocated for an all of the above approach to fixing Virginia’s transportation problems by making dedicated investments in our roads, rail, and public transit systems. He outlined a vision of implementing high speed rail from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads via Richmond to alleviate traffic and increase workforce productivity. He emphasized these points repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2009. I enthusiastically voted for Bob McDonnell in 2009. Governor McDonnell stayed true to his promises to be a practical, pragmatic, solutions-oriented Governor and I continue to support Governor McDonnell today.

Governor McDonnell stood up for the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia and kept his promise to work with all Virginians. He knew that he would face backlash from his own party and hurt his future political ambitions by brokering a compromise with Democrats to solve Virginia’s pressing transportation problems that are costing people countless hours of productivity. Governor McDonnell moved forward anyway because he truly did put people over politics.

Governor McDonnell displayed true political courage in possibly sacrificing his political future at the hands of an unhinged, irate, perpetually angry, and irrationally anti-tax GOP. When it would have been easy, convenient, and opportunistic politically to say “no” and antagonize Democrats in order to fend off hardcore Republican primary challengers for U.S. Senator or President in the future, Governor McDonnell set aside his political ambitions for the benefit of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He welcomed all Virginians to the table to broker and pass a bipartisan transportation plan to help Virginia over the long term after too many years of political posturing and inaction on this vital economic issue. This is true leadership from a true Virginia Gentleman. We need more people like Bob McDonnell in politics.
Thanks, Phil ... I could not agree more.

Bipartisan sanity carries the day
Staunton News Leader Editorial
As of Saturday afternoon, we have a new transportation funding plan for the first time in 27 years. It is nowhere near perfect, but that we have one at all is nearly miraculous. Conservatives are dismayed that Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has the transportation plan Democrat Tim Kaine always wanted. The plan highlights the critical need for compromise and action on what matters most.

This victory for McDonnell comes no thanks to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who continues to make a name for himself not as statesman worthy of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but as an ideological flamethrower who seeks attention and his own way at all costs.
Gratefully, today the Commonwealth moves forward.
Read the rest ... they didn't mince words.

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