Thursday, February 15, 2007
Legislature Stiffs NoVa on Transport Bill Conference
It's getting down to the wire in the Virginia legislature, with the House and Senate passing significantly different versions of a bill to fund desperately needed transportation improvements in the state.
The two competing bills, which are of greatest interest to the large and ever-growing population of Northern Virginia, have gone to a conference, where representatives of the House and Senate will meet in private to see if they can somehow make a sausage out of this hash.
So, what did the leaders of the two GOP-controlled houses of the Virginia Assembly do to make sure NoVa's voice is heard on this critical issue? Basically, they gave NoVa the finger.
Eleven conferees have been appointed. Only ONE is from NoVa, Tim Hugo from Fairfax County. Meanwhile, the Norfolk/Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach region--which also has a big stake in the legislation--has FOUR representatives.
What a snub to NoVa, which under both bills is expected to tax itself to pay for improvements. The big difference is whether--under the House version--NoVa will also suffer cuts in other important programs as money is diverted from the general fund.
For all you Northern Virginians, especially in Fairfax, Loudon, Prince William and Stafford Counties, who have Republican reps in the General Assembly: take note. If you're tired of sitting in traffic day-in and day-out, you need to replace your rep with a Democrat. Otherwise, you're just sending your state tax dollars down a drain in Richmond to help out the rest of the state.