Cuccinelli released a transportation plan Monday calling for transferring authority for much of the commonwealth’s transportation system to county and local governments. Cuccinelli opposed a landmark transportation-funding measure signed by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) this year as a “massive tax increase” and raised legal objections about the legislation as attorney general. He also declared unconstitutional the imposition of taxes only on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. The taxes would raise a total of about $500 million a year, to be used regionally. But he also offered guidance on making the bill constitutionally sound and said he would not try to change it as governor. He has spoken out against the Metro system’s second phase of expanding the Silver Line into Loudoun County, saying the costs outweigh the benefits except for landowners in its path. He has also expressed concerns about the impact of the project on Northern Virginia motorists, whose tolls are helping to pay for the rail line’s construction.
McAuliffe supported the transportation bill and said he would pursue similar bipartisan approaches to solving the state’s transportation challenges. Earlier this year, he ran a TV ad suggesting that he made phone calls in support of the landmark measure that helped it pass in the Virginia General Assembly, a claim that met with objections from Republicans who supported the bill. He has said he will emphasize infrastructure to roads, rail lines and bridges focused on safety and economic development. He also said he would avoid a “laundry list” approach to transportation projects by setting priorities. And he said he would search for ways to improve regional planning to prevent gridlock, as well as smart-growth planning in which land development decisions are made in ways that don’t worsen traffic. He reiterated his desire to widen Route 58 to four lanes along the southern flank of Virginia. He has said he supports the Silver Line that will expand Metrorail service into Loudoun County.