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BRIDGE BRIEF: Cuccinelli's Opposition to Bipartisan Transportation Plan

Cuccinelli Opposed Bipartisan Transportation Plan

In February Of 2013, The Virginia State Legislature Passed The First Long-Term Transportation Plan In 27 Years. According to the Roanoke Times, “After weeks of starts, stops and near crashes, a bipartisan coalition of state legislators has delivered a long-awaited transportation funding package to Gov. Bob McDonnell. After some last-minute drama that threatened to derail the deal, the Virginia Senate on Saturday passed a compromise plan that will pump $3.5 billion into roads, rail and transit over the next five years. The Senate’s 25-15 vote came one day after the House of Delegates passed the bill with a bipartisan majority. ‘This is a historic day in Virginia,’ McDonnell said in a written statement today after the Senate vote. ‘We have worked together across party lines to find common ground and pass the first sustainable long-term transportation funding plan in 27 years. There is a ‘Virginia Way’ of cooperation and problem solving, and we saw it work again today in Richmond.’” [Roanoke Times, 2/23/13]

    • Cuccinelli Opposed The Transportation Plan. According to the National Journal, “For the second time this month, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli bucked Gov. Bob McDonnell by opposing a transportation proposed backed by the outgoing GOP governor, whom Cuccinelli, a fellow Republican, hopes to succeed in this fall’s general election. […] Cuccinelli issued a statement Thursday: ‘If reports are correct, this new bill contemplates a massive tax increase. In these tough economic times, I do not believe Virginia’s middle class families can afford massive tax increases, and I cannot support legislation that would ask the taxpayers to shoulder an even heavier burden than they are already carrying, especially when the government proposes to do so little belt tightening in other areas of the budget.’” [National Journal, 2/22/13]
    • The Bill Steered Nearly $1 Billion A Year To State And Local Transportation Projects. According to Politico, “The new law, which cleared the state Senate Saturday and now awaits McDonnell’s signature, cuts the state gas tax, implements new levies on wholesale gasoline and diesel sales and hikes the sales tax in order to steer hundreds of millions of dollars to state and local transportation projects – nearly $1 billion a year after the law is fully implemented.” [Politico, 2/24/13]
    • Daily News Leader Editorial: The Transportation Plan “Highlights The Critical Need For Compromise And Action On What Matters Most.” According to a staff editorial in the Daily News Leader, “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.” [Daily News Leader, 2/23/13]
    • Washington Post Editorial: Cuccinelli Opposed “Every Significant, Politically Viable” Effort on Transportation “For More than a Decade.” According to a staff editorial in the Washington Post, “In fact, it is consistent with his opposition to every significant, politically viable effort to rescue the state’s transportation fund for more than a decade.” [Washington Post, Editorial, 3/17/13]

Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling: Cuccinelli’s Opposition to the Transportation Compromise “Shows How Out of Touch He Is With the People of Virginia.” According to the Washington Examiner, “Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, a Republican who may enter the race as an independent, also chastised Cuccinelli, saying his opposition could prevent the General Assembly from finally solving the state’s transportation problems. ‘His opposition to this historic transportation agreement just shows how out of touch he is with the people of Virginia,’ Bolling said. ‘It is not the least bit helpful to have him coming in at the last minute criticizing this proposal. That’s not what leadership is about.’” [Washington Examiner, 2/21/13]

Cuccinelli Opposed The Silver Line

Cuccinelli On The Silver Line: “Kill It.” According to the Washington Post, “Cuccinelli called the project an ‘economic boondoggle’ and that ‘the cost-benefit just is not there.’ He said the issue would be a central feature of the Loudoun board of supervisor elections this year, and that ‘I hope [voters] elect an entire board who’s committed to pulling out of Phase Two to kill it.’” [Washington Post, 6/6/11]

    • Washington Post Editorial HEADLINE: “Ken Cuccinelli’s Incomprehensible War Against The Silver Line” [Washington Post, 6/24/13]
    • Washington Post Editorial: “In Mr. Cuccinelli’s Transportation Policy, Ideology Trumps Practicality And Virginia’s Long-Term Prospects — Like The Daily Lives Of Its Commuters — Are A Secondary Priority.” According to a staff editorial in the Washington Post, “Similarly, in the same breath as he dismisses the Silver Line as a ‘boondoggle,’ Mr. Cuccinelli suggests that local governments be given more leeway to devise their own transportation solutions. But he neglects to mention what means he would devise for localities to generate revenue to do so. In Mr. Cuccinelli’s transportation policy, ideology trumps practicality and Virginia’s long-term prospects — like the daily lives of its commuters — are a secondary priority.” [Washington Post, 6/24/13]
    • Washington Post Editorial: If Cuccinelli “Is Remotely Interested” in Job Growth He Should Support Silver Line. According to a staff editorial in the Washington Post, “If Mr. Cuccinelli is remotely interested in sustaining and expanding Northern Virginia’s commercial vitality and promoting job growth, killing off the Silver Line is hardly the way to do it.” [Washington Post, 6/13/11]

Over 389,100 Daily Metro Passengers Would Benefit From The Silver Line. According to the Washington Post, “With the opening of Metro’s new Silver Line coming later this year, there are going to be winners and losers. The biggest losers: about 82,556 average daily passengers on Metro’s rail and buses would not benefit from the new rail line while 389,100 would benefit, according to documents in a packet for Metro board members.” [Washington Post, 4/10/13]

A Survey Of 7,700 Metro Riders Found That 80-87% Of People Who Drive Said They Would Take The Silver Line Instead. According to the Washington Post, “The documents also show how a survey of roughly 7,700 Metro rail riders showed that between 80 percent and 87 percent of people who now drive said they would take the Silver Line.” [Washington Post, 4/10/13]

George Mason University Economist Stephen Fuller Estimated That The Silver Line Would Bring 40,000 New Jobs To Loudoun County. According to the Washington Post, “At the Wednesday event, Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University, said Loudoun County would lose $72.2 billion in economic benefit if the Silver Line doesn’t run to Loudoun. With the rail service, Fuller said that 40,000 professional and business service jobs would come to Loudoun. Without it, the area would remain more of a bedroom community, he said.” [Washington Post, 5/9/12]

    • Fuller Estimated That Loudoun County Would Miss Out On $72.2 Billion Over A Ten-Year Period If The Silver Line Wasn’t Built. In an essay in the Center for Regional Analysis, Fuller wrote, “In the absence of Metrorail service to Loudoun County as currently planned, the County’s economy will grow more slowly, driven by gains in lower value added employment and imported income earned by residents commuting to jobs located outside of the county. […] For the decade of 2020-2030, the accumulated difference between the Loudoun County with Metrorail and without Metrorail would total $72.2 billion.” [Center for Regional Analysis, 5/9/12]

Fairfax County Estimated That The Silver Line Would Have A Total Economic Of Almost $10 Billion Over 10 Years. According to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the Silver Line was expected to have “Total economic impact approaching $10 billion over 10 years of design and construction.” [Fairfax Department of Transportation, 9/1/09]

The Preliminary Engineering Report For The Silver Line Estimated That It Would Save Commuters 19,700 Hours Each Workday. According to the Journal of Policy Perspectives, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mean hourly earnings for workers in the D.C. metropolitan area to be $24.80 per hour in 2008 dollars. The hourly value of time saved is equal to the average hourly wage (BLS 2009). Thus, the value of time saved is calculated to be $60.413 million annually in 2013, increasing to $74.388 million by 2030, in 2008 dollars. The Preliminary Engineering Report estimates the travel time benefit from the metro expansion to be 19,700 hours each workday (FTA 2006). Using the same average wage and 251 weekdays in the year (excluding weekends and holidays), a figure is calculated at $122.629 million.” [Journal of Policy Perspectives, Spring 2009]