McDonnell's Transportation Funding Shell Game
December 12, 2011
The Roanoke Times reports, "Fearful of the political blowback from even an incremental increase in road revenues, the governor instead proposes to gouge more holes in the state's general fund, even as he acknowledges that he cannot protect core services from a new round of budget cuts to be announced later this month."
Progressive Point: Virginia's roads and transportation system is a mess. We're running out of money just to fix what we have, without even mentioning building new roads and public transit. But rather than proposing a comprehensive plan to pay for our transportation needs, Governor McDonnell wants to rob Peter to pay Paul. His transportation funding plan would divert money from the general fund, which pays for schools, public safety, and health care. McDonnell is making clear that he would rather take money away from law enforcement and schools than find new sources of revenue to fix the transportation crisis.
Get the Facts:
- McDonnell's transportation propoals would result in "decades of austerity for public education, universities, safety net programs and state troopers," and, even if enacted, would not meet Virginia's road mantenance needs. Previous failures to meet mantenance costs has resulted in $2.8 billion in construction budget shortfalls since 2005. (Roanoke Times, December 12, 2011)
- Virginia ranks 7th in the country in per capita income, but 47th in per capita spending on transportation. The reason for such a large imbalance is because the majority of Virginia's transportation funding comes from the fuel tax which currently sits at just 17 cents per gallon. However, the gas tax would be "35 cents today had it been indexed for inflation." (Bob Chase, president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, Daily Press, December 9, 2011)
- Because of inflation, "Virginia's gas tax has lost 50% of its value over the last 24 years, and is now lower than ever before." (Greater Greater Washington, September 7, 2011)