Gov. John N. Dalton said today that despite some criticism, he had no apologies to make for the way he has handled the gasoline shortage in Northern Virginia.
Speaking at a press conference, Dalton also praised President Carter's energy program and said it could be a boon to Virginia coal production.
Dalton was criticized by Northern Virginia politicians of both parties last week who contended that the governor had underestimated the scope of the area's gasoline shortage and had been slow to act to correct it.
Dalton noted today that he was the first official to recommend an odd-even gasoline distribution plan for the Washington metropolitan area, and had sent 4 million gallons of gasoline from state reserves to the area this month to help ease long lines at service stations.
"I don't know of anything that has been done to help Northern Virginians more," Dalton said.
The odd-even plan went into effect June 21 after officials in all three area jurisdictions decided jointly to invoke it.
Dalton said Virginia, one of the largest coal-producing states in the country, could benefit if President Carter carries out his plan to step up the nation's coal production. But the governor also said some environmental standards that now restrict some coal use will have to be relaxed "for the short-term good."
Dalton also said he was impressed with the number of people being moved daily by the Metro transit system in Northern Virginia, and hinted he may ask the General Assembly to shift some highway constructionfunds to the development of mass transit.