McDonnell to roll out massive spending campaign for roads, colleges, jobs

January 9, 2011

By Anita Kumar, Washington Post

RICHMOND – Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plans a massive spending campaign that he said would unclog state roads, award thousands more college degrees and spur job creation, part of an aggressive legislative agenda he is expected to roll out this week.

McDonnell (R) will press lawmakers to approve a series of statewide projects he said would be paid in part through Virginia’s $403 million budget surplus, $337 million in higher-than-expected tax revenue, and $192 million generated through cuts and savings.

And in stark contrast to other governors, who are cutting budgets and slashing payrolls, McDonnell told The Washington Post that he plans to borrow nearly $3 billion over the next three years for transportation projects and intends to spend an additional $400 million to fix the state’s ailing roads, $58 million to help state colleges and universities, and $54 million to create jobs.

“When you only have four years to do things, you understand the clock is always ticking,” said McDonnell, referring to Virginia law that makes it the only state in the nation where a governor can’t succeed himself. “You have a sense of urgency to get things done.”

Democrats said that they share many of the Republican governor’s priorities but that his transportation proposal is filled with IOUs and his jobs plan is based on stimulus money that will eventually run out. “His goals are sound, but his methods for achieving them are unsuccessful,” said Brian Moran, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

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