Democrats question VDOT audit - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Democrats question VDOT audit

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - While Governor Bob McDonnell spent Thursday announcing the discovery of more than $1-billion in extra funds for transportation, Democrats are saying, not so fast.  

In fact, one leading Democrat, Sen. Dick Saslaw, the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation said today that he is not convinced VDOT has all of this extra money this audit claims.

The news was welcome. More than $1-billion in unused funds, ready to be spent right away to fix the state's roads. Its money Governor Bob McDonnell felt was going to waste under the previous administration.

"There was a bad set of management decisions made to be able to keep money in the bank that should've been spent," said the Governor.

But McDonnell's Democratic counterparts are quite ready to put out orders for blacktop.

The Senate Democratic leader Saslaw put out a lengthy statement Thursday night questioning the results of the audit.

"Until my colleagues and I learn more about the details in the audit, I am hesitant to affirm that there are in fact substantial new dollars for transportation," said Saslaw.   

Saslaw also said that even if there is extra money, it won't solve the state's problems. A sentiment echoed by fellow Democrat Don McEachin.

"We have to have a sustainable source of revenue and the governor has come up with that yet," McEachin said.  

Democrats have proposed getting that "sustainable revenue source" from a bump to the gas tax. That's something McDonnell resists, even while acknowledging fixing Virginia's transportation problem will need much more than just this new found cash.

"We've got needs in the tens of billions of dollars over the next couple of decades that is why we are putting together some long term ideas," McDonnell said.

The VDOT audit also gave democrats the chance today to hammer Governor McDonnell's plan to privatize state ABC stores to help fund the roads project.

McDonnell said the audit will have no impact on his push to get the state out of the booze business.

And to read more about what this audit says about Governor Tim Kaine and his administration, check out our political blog, DecisionVirginia.com.  

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