Your article “Legislators OK transportation bill amendments” (Fairfax County Times, April 5) notes that Barbara Comstock and Tim Hugo were the only members of the Fairfax delegation to Richmond who voted against the compromise transportation bill. Finally, after three years of gridlock in Richmond, the General Assembly passed a bill to address the transportation needs of Northern Virginia. However, McLean/Great Falls Delegate Barbara Comstock never supported any plan for funding transportation projects in Northern Virginia during her two terms in Richmond. This year she voted against both the original and the amended “compromise plan” which received bi-partisan support from almost every other Northern Virginia legislator. Even though she is on the House Transportation Committee, Comstock could not offer an alternative to the Governor’s plan. She simply voted against it twice without offering an alternative solution to the region’s pressing need for transportation funding.
The compromise plan passed last week by the General Assembly includes provisions that allow the two largest metropolitan areas in the state (Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads) to increase taxes by a modest amount in order to raise revenues for local transportation projects. These areas have suffered from inadequate transportation funding since 1986.
It is logical for growing urban areas to have the flexibility they need to address their own problems. Furthermore the plan includes millions in support for Metro Rail to Dulles and widening of Route 7 west of Tysons Corner. These projects are of great importance to the citizens Comstock is supposed to represent.
Del. Comstock’s opposition to the plan is apparently based on her pledge to Grover Norquist to not raise any taxes regardless of the public’s desire to generate revenues for essential expenditures on transportation. Her opposition to the Governor’s compromise was also based on its potential to be ruled unconstitutional for allowing unequal taxation across jurisdictions. Yet this issue was also addressed in the amendment that passed.
Citizens of the 34th District are not well served by a representative who is bound to an ideological principle (no new revenues for any reason) rather than one which promotes pragmatic cost-effective solutions. We need better representation in the House of Delegates. If our delegate cannot vote for a compromise budget that brings $300 million for Dulles rail and the widening of Route 7, then she should be replaced. We deserve a delegate who shows leadership on the hard issues.