January 16, 2006
New Governor Tim Kaine gave his first speech to the general assembly in Richmond tonight. Governor Kaine spoke for 37 minutes tonight. In his speech we heard about healthcare, education, and the environment. But the major focus was on state transportation.
"Every additional moment we loose in traffic is time away from our families, from building our businesses, from recreating or worshipping," said Kaine. "And it's not your imagination, you are sitting in traffic longer."
Governor Kaine pledging tonight to improve transportation policies more than twenty years old. After 11 town hall meetings during his campaign, the governor says this issue is a priority to nearly all Virginians.
"We cannot allow uncoordinated development to overwhelm our roads and infrastructure," he said.
To prevent that Kaine is seeking legislation that gives local communities the power to slow development, if roads and highways become too crowded.
"Our current system in which local governments make land use decisions, and the state follows behind with transportation planning, creates a situation where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing," he said.
It's a problem often seen in our area; Lots of new development, but not enough improvements to roads.
Kaine says his plan is not anti-development, it's just a new way of thinking. He'll also crack down on misuse of funds.
"I will veto any budget that violates that promise and diverts transportation trust fund dollars away from transportation purposes," he explained.
After the speech, republicans responded.
"As we dabble into transportation issues this session, Republicans are convinced that a real solution won't be provided by throwing more money at the problem," said Kurt Cox, the delegate from District 66.
As far as funding, the governor has a week until he needs to finalize his budget. Today his press secretary said they'll be discussing a lot of issues, including transportation.
The governor is expected to contribute more than $600 million to transportation.