Press Release from Delegate Dave LaRock:
Seeking to address the need for stability in Virginia transportation funding, the House and Senate passed House Joint Resolution 693. The House finalized passage Saturday morning just one hour before the close of session with a vote of 71-23, accepting a minor amendment made by the Senate Privileges and Elections committee. Passing this resolution is the first step in a three step process before an amendment to the Virginia Constitution can become law. Resolutions are not subject to veto by the governor. An amendment must pass the legislature in identical form in two consecutive sessions and then be approved by a simple majority of voters in a statewide referendum.
This past Thursday the Senate beat back an attempt to modify the amendment into what is known as a “double lock box” which would block the flow of general funds to transportation; in the past this has caused similar effort to pass an amendment to fail.
“I was told this had been tried in the past and that passage of a “single” lockbox was unlikely” said Del. LaRock, the chief patron of the bill. “Clearly this is a step toward more responsible handling of monies appropriated for transportation and it took a team effort. Del. Tag Greason and I worked closely on the House side knowing this will have a huge benefit on Loudoun County. Sen. Jill Vogel, Chair of the Privileges and Elections committee and her colleagues in the Senate, to the amazement of many, pulled together votes from both sides of the aisle passing the measure on a vote of 26- 14.”
Passing HB2 in 2014 sent a strong message to the people & businesses in Virginia, a constitutional lockbox on transportation builds on and expands that same message and eventually will improve road conditions and safety and will attract bidders to large projects. This single lockbox only restricts raiding of dedicated transportation funds and can be overridden in an emergency with a two thirds plus one vote of the legislature.
Del. LaRock said, “Transportation is foundational to commerce, education, public safety, tourism, and much more; all depend on good roads and transit. People are seeing real progress as we address local transportation needs- they expect that to continue. There is a backlog of transportation needs; 5% of VDOT-maintained bridges (over 1000 bridges) are currently classified as deficient, 40% of secondary road pavement is rated as deficient, the recent SmartScale application process brought over $9 billion in requests, but only $1 billion of funding was available.”
It is interesting to look at the history of raids on transportation funds; in 1991, Gov. Doug Wilder shifted $200 million from the transportation trust fund to balance the budget. In 2002, outgoing Gov. Jim Gilmore proposed using $317 million in transportation trust fund revenue. In 2003, Gov. Mark Warner actually took that $317 million and also diverted another $143 million in general funds dedicated to specific transportation projects in the Virginia Transportation Act of 2000. And in 2007, Gov. Kaine diverted $180 million from highway construction projects. While these monies are eventually restored it hurts progress overall.
Groups who engaged and helped pass this measure include: Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, Northern Virginia Transportation Coalition, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Roads Chamber, Roanoke Regional Chamber, Northern Virginia Chamber Partnership – Dulles Regional, Greater Reston, Loudoun County, and Mount Vernon Lee Chambers of Commerce, Prince William Chamber of Commerce, AAA Mid-Atlantic and AAA Tidewater.
HJ 693 Constitutional amendment (first resolution); Transportation Funds.
About Dave LaRock
Delegate Dave LaRock represents the 33rd House District, including parts of Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick Counties, and the towns of Leesburg (partial), Purcellville, Berryville, Lovettsville, Round Hill, Hamilton and Hillsboro. LaRock serves on the Transportation Committee, the Science and Technology Committee and the Education Committee. Dave and his wife, Joanne, have lived in Loudoun for 29 years, building a successful family-owned general contracting business. The LaRocks reside near Hamilton with Laura, Abby, and John, the youngest of their seven children.
Well, if the Va. House, Senate, and Governor has passed SB 1095, that would have put more money in not only law enforcement officers and state employee’s pockets, but also given most of the adult citizens in Va. a raise, and not cost the taxpayer one single dime.
But, as long as the power company runs Virginia government, SB 1095 will never happen. SB 1349 was nothing more than a flat out lie and a con job.
And, if Tommy Norment of Ashley Madison fame, would have passed HB 2233 in the Senate, and the power company and health insurance lobby would have given McAuliffe “permission” to sign the bill, this would have put more money in Va.taxpayers pockets by possibly lowering health insurance costs.
And, if we got Virginia government out of our lives by putting an end to the crooked, BS, annual vehicle safety inspections, this would have put more money in the taxpayers pockets. Also, this would free up State Police money for their raises by not having to waste manpower and money on a un-necessary, waste of time, government intrusion that they can no longer affordably supervise anyhow.
So there you have it, 1-2-3, NO, NO, NO. Write about that Dave.
So what’s the catch? Chambers and transportation agencies wouldn’t be for this unless the lowly citizens were getting screwed.
All the bill does is restrict without a 2/3 assembly override vote transportation earmarked funds being siphoned off into the general fund spending bucket that allows for discretionary spending by the governor. The transportation agencies like it because it places restrictions of outside raiding of their state piggy bank for other spending objectives (e.g. the lock box terminology). They could have built the original sweeping 2012 -13 transportation bill to do this upfront but there has been a checkered history in Virginia to tax for justification A but slush funds into the discretionary general fund to spend on B, sometimes replacing the revenues transfers sometimes not.
It is this current allowable general fund state accounting procedure that is utilized (not just for transportation funding but in other areas as well) that needs to be restricted and regulated by the state’s constitution. Many states restrict the comptroller or chief financial officer from engaging in this type of activity.
You can bet your ass that there is more to this than meets the eye. Maybe road construction lobby money is behind it?
Be very wary of any construction funding projects in Va right now being that not one elected Virginian is in public support of deportation or ending our current systems of illegal employment in the Commonwealth.
Is LaRock a Contractor?
I am wary of ANYTHING that comes out of corrupt politicians serving themselves in downtown Richmond. All legal of course.
The only Virginia constitutional amendment that I am interested in is the one that requires the Virginia General Assembly to meet once every 2 years for the budget session ONLY. With NO increase in days for that session.
Those who say they want less government, where are you on this?