Through Obama’s truculent special interest campaign of division and derision, he is rapidly exhausting his check list of demographic groups. He’s already targeted women, Hispanics, gays, blue collar workers, and all sorts of minorities. Now he is going after the ‘commuter vote’ in northern Virginia.
Politico is reporting that Obama is up with a 60-second radio spot in northern Virginia claiming that Paul Ryan’s budget will exacerbate the traffic problems in the sprawling D.C suburbs:
The 60-second radio bit imitates a local traffic report and targets congested routes oft-cursed by northern Virginians: Interstates 395 and 66. The area is part of the sprawling D.C. region and consistently rated as having some of the nation’s worst traffic.
“Could things get any worse?” the faux anchor asks of another broadcaster, who replies, “Paul Ryan put forward a budget plan that slashes investments in road and infrastructure projects.” The two then agree that the Ryan’s “budget plan devastates infrastructure and roads projects.”
The ad also highlights the House Budget chairman’s opposition to “bridge repair and safety bills,” referring to votes against a bridge repair bill written in the aftermath of the 2007 I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the 2009 stimulus package and a 2011 appropriations bill written by Democrats.
The problem is that it’s actually Obama’s intransigent support of a top-down federally-run highway policy that is encumbering traffic, stifling innovation, and preventing states from taking control of their own destiny.
As we’ve noted many times this year throughout the highway bill fight, there is no sane reason to collect the highway tax revenue from all 50 states and dole out the funds through the inefficient filter of the federal government, especially since the completion of the interstate highway system. This federal behemoth has several fatal flaws which ultimately affect the ability of states like Virginia to deal with traffic problems.
Let’s devolve the federal gas tax revenue to the states and have them spend the money the way they see fit. Traffic congestion is an issue best understood and dealt with on a local level. If there is really a need for more transportation spending, then let’s have the debate about raising gasoline taxes or cutting other spending on a state level. Once states are responsible for their own highway spending, they will stop squandering money on low-priority projects.
This is a classic example of how Republicans need to go on offense when accused of cutting vital services. It’s not a matter of cutting funding; it’s a matter of proposing bolder free market/10th amendment solutions that will ultimately enhance those services. It’s Obama and his statist policies that are responsible for our crumbling infrastructure. Simply agreeing to the premise of the current federal highway system (as did most of the Republican congressmen and senators), albeit with minimal cuts, will not provide that bold contrast. Romney and Ryan need to argue that throwing money down the current inefficient federal drain will not improve traffic congestion at all. But that would require them to adopt the policy of devolution.
And with regards to northern Virginia, there’s one other solution to the traffic problems. Why don’t we cut the federal government back to its constitutional levels? There’s a reason why there are so many new people (and Democrat voters) unnaturally migrating to northern Virginia. Merely trimming back the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration would go a long way in reducing traffic congestion – in more ways than one.
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