Gilmore Floats Plan for Roads. Tobacco Funds Eyed; Other Ideas Rebuffed
Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III announced today that he will not use the state surplus or real estate transaction taxes to ease traffic congestion, as Democrats have urged, and said he is considering several other funding options before presenting his
Gilmore (R) said that using a portion of the state's national tobacco settlement is a "good solution" and that he also is open to repaying money borrowed earlier this decade from the state's road-building program. He plans to announce the transportation package Aug. 31.
The governor has not said how much he is willing to spend. Northern Virginia legislators from both parties have urged him to include at least $1 billion for their region. A state government source said today that Gilmore is considering a package that will total about $2 billion, with half earmarked for Northern Virginia.
The ideas of using tobacco settlement money and repaying the roads fund were among the few transportation proposals that escaped the governor's criticism today in a sharply worded speech to the state legislature's money committees. Gilmore's remarks, his most specific on the transportation issue, underscored how relief for traffic congestion has grown to dominate this fall's legislative races, particularly in Northern Virginia.