GOPers Blast the Newest Dem Star: How Dare He Pay for Transportation!

deeds.jpgCan Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds win on a transportation-centric platform? (Photo: Waldoj via Flickr)

Democrat Creigh Deeds is the man of the hour for many in the D.C. political establishment, having managed to upset a well-funded ally of the Clintons in the closely watched Virginia gubernatorial race.

And now that Deeds is moving on to an even more hotly contested general election, his handling of the transportation debate could become a bellwether on the national level.

Deeds has long vowed to make Virginia’s epic congestion problems his top priority, and his support for increasing the state’s gas tax — currently low enough to rank 40th in the nation — to fund transport improvements is already drawing fire from the GOP. The Republican Governors Association’s first release criticizing Deeds begins:

Despite prevailing in tonight’s
gubernatorial primary, even Democrats know Creigh Deeds’ record of
hiking taxes makes him unelectable this fall.

Can the GOP successfully paint Deeds as a profligate for wanting to pay for transportation upgrades? President Obama survived a similar challenge during last year’s campaign when his opponents began pressing for a federal gas tax holiday, but Virginia Republicans may have better luck peeling off rural voters with their knocks on Deeds.

Deeds could help his cause by getting more specific about the types of transportation projects he wants to pursue. His lack of detail thus far has caught the attention of the Washington Post, the newspaper that provided him a game-changing endorsement.

The newly minted Democratic star could begin by reviving three transportation bills he offered during last year’s Virginia state Senate session. The three proposals would encourage less punishing commutes by giving tax credits to employers who provide flex-time scheduling and telecommuting, as well as a tax deduction to anyone who takes transit, walks or bikes to work.

  • Larry Littlefield

    FYI there is a version of New York’s Upstate/Downstate divide at work. The Virginia portion of the Washington metro area (Northern Virginia or NOVA) has all the growth, throws off a disproportionate share of state revenue, has traffic problems, and wants projects like a Metro expansion to Dulles airport. That area has had one of the nation’s largest real estate development booms over the base decade, and is currently in a bust. Not quite Vegas, but close.

    The rest of the state is poorer, has plenty of capacity on its state funded rural roads, and doesn’t want to pay for transportation in NOVA.

    How about regional funding in NOVA? That would mean money wouldn’t pass through the state, and the rest of the state wouldn’t get a cut (although we know from the MTA that isn’t always the case).

    This battle has gone around and around for years.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I would so love to see Larry turn his considerable analytical talents on this sort of work rather than mining what he considers to be his clever and unique characterization of the present politics under the “generation greed” moniker. It has much more to do with the structural problems that face state and local political economy. He could even branch off into analyzing the relationship between the suburbs and the city centers and the state border issues between NYC and NJ and CT. Or KC Mo v KC Ka. One can only hope.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Hey Prince, “Generation Greed” is my analysis.

    With all the money taken from the present in the past, the amount of money available for the present and future is much less. That effect will be overwhelming who gets what’s left, even if most of the nastiness is about fighting over the scraps, because Generation Greed is “vested.”

    The money flowing out is like the tide going out — the rocks appear.

    Who to blame? Not the beneficiaries. No one is looking in the mirror. In the early 1990s they blamed immigrants, minorities, and those living in older central cities. Hitler blame the Jews. I hear a lot of stuff from the Republicans about New York City cheating the rest of the state. Do you think people will believe the spreadsheets and graphs I produce like this one, or what they want to hear?

  • Larry, that part about how the Assembly elections are de facto decided by the health-care workers is really depressing.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “That part about how the Assembly elections are de facto decided by the health-care workers is really depressing.”

    When I was at NYCT and said that anything that wasn’t built/rebuilt by 2016 wouldn’t be, and there had better be a plan to get by with minimal maintenance afterward, they just didn’t get it.

    Transportation is transportation and all they worried about. The fact there would be increasing competing claims from more powerful interests with not a single thought about the anyone or anything else in a bankrupt country? Just not a factor, as long as the MTA could keep borrowing.

    Was I wrong? Well, it might happen sooner than I expected, perhaps 2010 for the MTA.

    And I’ve waiting to see what the cut off for the federal Tier V will be. Those reaching age 62 before get Social Security and Medicare, with no reductions in benefits or attempts to control costs.

    Those reaching age 65 after get a supply of dog food (dry only), and medical marijuanna followed by legal assisted suicide. If the Democrats are in — the Republicans won’t even provide that.

  • Lee

    As a williamsburg, VA resident, I’m frequently annoyed/horrified at the opinions of my neighbors and friends with regards to public/mass transit. Nearby Norfolk VA is currently building a light rail system – Richmond is considering one, and there have long been proposals for rail transit of some sort (other than Amtrak) in the newport news/williamsburg area.

    Most people in the area seem to be adverse to the idea. Which is unfortunate.



Virginia’s Transpo Future: Charge Drivers Less to Build More Roads

Congratulations are owed to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. He’s scored a victory on his transportation funding plan, cementing his legacy (though infuriating conservatives, including his hand-picked successor). His achievement is being called the first bipartisan initiative to pass in Virginia in decades. And what does this great deed accomplish? Secure revenue to fuel a new […]

Democratic Platform’s Scarce Words on Transportation Fail to Inspire

President Obama spent Labor Day touting his rescue of the U.S. auto industry, and today, like a chorus of backup singers, the Big Three automakers posted double-digit sales increases in perfect unison. Meanwhile, the Democrats kicked off their convention in Charlotte. Delegates will vote today on the Democratic platform, released late last night. The platform doesn’t say […]