It appears Creigh Deeds has listened to those who have ask him to show courage when talking about transportation funding. Yesterday in The Washington Post, he wrote of his transportation plan, which while still a little thin on details, is honest about the funding alternatives and directly states that he would support higher taxes.
Let me be clear regarding taxes. I will sign a bill that is the product of bipartisan compromise that provides a comprehensive transportation solution. As a legislator, I have voted for a number of mechanisms to fund transportation, including a gas tax. And I’ll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation — even if it includes new taxes.
At his web site you’ll find a transportation plan that is more goals than specific projects he would endorse, save a number of rail initiatives and completing the Coafields Expressway. Still his op-ed is to be commended for its honesty about taxes.
The op-ed led to a favorable editorial today from The Post.
R.CREIGH DEEDS, the Democrat running for governor in Virginia, has now unequivocally committed himself to support higher taxes to rescue the state’s sclerotic road system. His stance is nothing more or less than common sense: Virginia needs tens of billions of dollars in new revenue for roads, and it will not materialize without asking taxpayers — the same taxpayers who rightly groan about traffic — to foot a good part of the bill. Still, by articulating that position in plain English on the opposite page Wednesday, Mr. Deeds showed political guts, which is more than one can say for the smoke-and-mirrors, wing-and-a-prayer approach to transportation endorsed by his opponent, Republican nominee Robert F. McDonnell.
Usually such a glowing editorial would be the subject of campaign email landing in my inbox before I have my second cup of coffee. No such email has been received yet. It may still come. It’s as if he said, “OK, I’ve used the T-word and I’m not going to talk about it again.”
In any event, I hope now he can continue that honest approach by talking about options and how he will approach the decision if elected. Will he conduct a statewide campaign as Mark Warner did to build support for his tax increase? Despite yesterday’s op-ed, Deeds continues to be pummeled. The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce yesterday, in endorsing Bob McDonnell, complained that Deeds still doesn’t indentify funding sources, though that’s exactly what he did in his op-ed, though not specifying which taxes.
What I find curious about both the Deeds campaign and about coverage by The Post on this issue is that neither talk about McDonnell’s plan to issue bonds to pay for transportation. That’s passing the bill on to the the next generation. Yet The Post reporters often leave that out when describing McDonnell’s plans
McDonnell has proposed paying for transportation by shifting state money and relying on funding sources that don’t involve tax increases, such as privatizing the state’s liquor stores and adding tolls on some highways.
Republicans are chortling that Deeds has had his “Mondale moment.” I think he has a good chance of carrying this off.