Friday, March 27, 2009

Mark Obenshain follows through on VDOT concerns

Sen. Mark Obenshain, along with Del. Todd Gilbert, plan to meet today with Governor Tim Kaine to discuss VDOT's proposed budget cuts which they say will interrupt vital services such as rest areas, road maintenance, and snow and ice removal.

A press release from today....

HARRISONBURG—Today, Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) and Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) will be meeting with Governor Tim Kaine to outline their concerns about the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)'s “Blueprint for the Future,” which includes the closure of twenty-five rest stops as well as reductions in road maintenance, snow and ice removal, and other services.

Senator Obenshain and Delegate Gilbert have been at the forefront of the effort to ensure that VDOT's most vital priorities, especially those directly pertaining to safety, do not suffer while wasteful or unnecessary spending remains in the Department's budget. Renewing his call for an outside audit of VDOT, Obenshain recently launched, a website permitting Virginians to take a stand for fiscal responsibility and to report wasteful spending they have witnessed.

For years, the Department has resisted efforts to secure an outside audit, and even today, significant amounts of waste remain untouched as critical safety measures go under the knife. Renewing his call for an outside audit of VDOT, Obenshain said, “Next year, auditing VDOT has to be a top priority, but the fact is that we don't have that long. If VDOT won't submit to an outside audit, we will have to conduct an informal one of our own.”

This morning, Obenshain and Gilbert will be addressing their concerns to the Governor as part of an ongoing effort to ensure that VDOT can continue to fund its top priorities.

“All of us can give examples of hard-working VDOT employees who are dedicated to keeping our roads safe,” said Obenshain. “I consider them allies in this fight. This is about getting our priorities straight: let's make sure our existing roadways are maintained before we think about building new ones, and above all, let's make sure that wasteful spending doesn't take away from top safety priorities like clearing snow, grading roads, and keeping the rest stops open.”

Obenshain will be available for comment in the afternoon.
Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia Senate. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock and Rockingham (part).

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