As a former Maryland resident, I know firsthand the roads mess in northern Virginia. Highway construction is constant, with no visible progress being made. Traffic is always bad. In my 5 years there, the situation in Fairfax and Arlington counties didn’t improve.
So it was disconcerting to read Republican Governor Bob McDonnell signed a huge transportation tax bill into law to further fund these roads projects. What’s worse, he bargained away Medicaid expansion—something he swore he would not do—to ensure the bill’s passage in the state legislature, making Virginia’s Democrats very happy indeed.
Erick Erickson of RedState fumes, “Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell Thinks You’re an Idiot.” Excerpt:
Because McDonnell was so desperate for this gigantic tax hike, he was willing to wheel and deal on Obamacare, too.
Senate Democrats in Virginia sensed that McDonnell was desperate. He needed their votes to pass his proposal since enough Republicans refused to go along with him. So they demanded more from McDonnell. They insisted they’d only vote for the tax hike if they got to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, something McDonnell had just days earlier swore he would not do.
Amazing. An ostensibly conservative governor, a tea party governor, caves to liberals in order to hike taxes.
Northern Virginia’s roadwork is not a state problem; it’s a local problem. Northern Virginia, essentially a suburb of D.C., is besieged by liberal yuppies and Maryland expats servicing the bloated federal government. But residents of the whole state, the people who can least afford it, will have to pay for the road bloat in liberal northern Virginia. Federal money does not reach far into the heartland. Much of rural Virginia is economically depressed in the same way Cumberland, Maryland, is depressed. My hiking adventures throughout the state have made me fond of those people and the way of life they are trying to preserve.
The construction companies see the roadwork as jobs to protect for their workers, not jobs to get done. Fueled by tax hikes, the roadwork will continue apace—that is, behind and over budget. Two spendthrift congressman from Virginia are already clamoring for extending subway lines deeper into the state.
Before the Civil War, Virginia took back Arlington County (then called Alexandria County) from the District of Columbia for fear of Congress abolishing slavery in the capital district. Now, how many downstate Virginians would be sympathetic to giving it back?
Term limits mean McDonnell can’t run for reelection in 2013. State attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, who litigated Obamacare before the Supreme Court, shows promise. We shall see how well he does distancing himself from McDonnell’s mistakes.