Candidates for Governor Respond to Transportation Issues

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

August 25, 2005

One of the many challenges that the next elected governor of the Commonwealth will face is transportation. But not every candidate is willing to address Charlottesville's specific needs. The Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce asked some tough transportation questions in letters to the candidates for governor. The Chamber received the letters back today, but didn't get the same response from everyone.

"Transportation has taken a back seat for too long," said Timothy Hulbert of the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce.

Hulbert sent a letter to each of the candidates for governor asking for their support in three key local transportation projects, the Meadowcreek Parkway, U.S. 29 Western Bypass, and the Hillsdale Drive Extension.

"It was important for us to share our views with someone who will be the next governor of Virginia," said Hulbert.

Candidate Jerry Kilgore replied back indicating his support for the Meadowcreek Parkway and the U.S. 29 Western Bypass, but declined to support the Hillsdale Drive Extension. However, candidates Tim Kaine and Russ Potts declined to support any of the three listed priority projects.

In letters back to the Chamber, Kaine simply stated, "I am committed to action on transportation in 2006. I will ensure that resources meant for transportation are used on transportation."

"If all of the local transportation issues share these problems, it brings me to one unavoidable conclusion: transportation is a statewide crisis requiring a statewide solution," Potts responded.

"I don't necessarily think it's surprising to see the candidates fail to specifically mention some of the local projects like the Meadowcreek Parkway and the Western Bypass. There are a lot of projects around the state of Virginia," said Matthew Smyth from the UVa Center for Politics.

But experts like Smyth feel it is very important to know this information to be able to make an informed decision when it comes to voting time.

The Chamber of Commerce is hoping that the next elected governor will help Charlottesville take a step towards less congestion. Right now the only transportation project that is fully funded is the Meadowcreek Parkway.

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