Kilgore Mandates Wider I-66 For N.Va.
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore came to one of Northern Virginia's worst traffic spots yesterday to highlight his pledge to widen Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway and appeal for the region's votes.
Standing in a parking lot above the highway, Kilgore said widening the road from four to six lanes is "a step we must take for the sake of quality of life in this region" and pledged to get it done because he would "not take no for an answer."
Concern about traffic congestion is one of the leading issues for voters in Northern Virginia, where many, including Kilgore, believe a tight election with Democrat Timothy M. Kaine will be decided.
Political analysts say that Kaine, like all Democratic candidates, must do well in Northern Virginia to win statewide Tuesday.
A Washington Post poll taken last week showed Kaine leading by 53 to 38 percent in Northern Virginia. Kaine had a 47 to 44 percent edge statewide in the poll, which has an overall margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
At the news conference, Kilgore was flanked by Republican congressmen Thomas M. Davis III and Frank R. Wolf. Kilgore also talked about gang violence and illegal immigration, two other issues of importance to the region's voters.
He pledged to curb violence by passing a law that would make gang leaders who order killings as liable as those who carry them out. He also said he would not allow localities to use taxpayer money to fund work centers for illegal immigrants.
"We should not be using taxpayer dollars for those who are illegally in this country," Kilgore said, referring to a decision by the town of Herndon to fund a work center for day laborers, some of whom might be in the country illegally.
Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada (D), who attended the event, said Kilgore was "playing the politics of division. He doesn't really understand the challenges of local communities."
Kaine has said immigration is the responsibility of the federal government and supports the rights of localities to make their own decisions on such matters as work centers.
At the heart of Kilgore's transportation plan is a promise to create regional authorities that would have the power to plan projects and hold tax referendums to finance them. "I trust the drivers on the roads of this region and not bureaucrats staring at maps in Richmond," he said.
Kilgore also repeated a pledge to tap some money from the part of the state budget reserved for schools, public safety and other services for transportation projects.