My E-Mail to Bob Tata


I hope this is not premature, but I am fairly confident that by the time you read this you will have been swept back into office.

Let me explain who I am and what my agenda is.

I am one of your constituents who happens to be a self employed truck driver. As such, I find myself in agreement with the trucking industry's position on how increased revenue for transportation funding should be accomplished. I will site my understanding of the ATA's (American Trucking Associations), the OOIDA's (Owner Operator Independent Driver Association) and the VTA's (Virginia Trucking Association) as relevant to prove this extreme majority viewpoint within the industry. It is our viewpoint that increases in fuel taxes are the fairest, most efficient method of raising increased revenue. When you collect the money through tolls, you have a whole lot of overhead to pay for to get the revenue.

In the past, I communicated with you how I am extremely opposed to tollways. In your response to me you effectively communicated back how difficult it would be to meet our region's needs for transportation improvements without including tolls.

I am hopeful that instead of spinning our wheels for the next several years on what to do about the transportation we can see some progress. Instead of partisan bickering, perhaps we can get something in motion.

There seems to be fairly broad Democratic support for an increase in the fuel tax with broad Republican support for increased use of tolls. I suggest that we pursue a grand compromise. Increased fuel taxes to fund maintenance and limited improvements on existing highways and freeways with tolls to fund new major projects. I do not think such a compromise is in the best interests of our region's citizens since they will be expected to pay both the increased fuel taxes and the tolls, but if compromise is necessary and that is the only way forward, so be it.

However, if you and the Republican Party insist on putting tolls on existing freeways let me warn you that my industry (I am not their spokesperson, how I am fairly confident I am correct) and myself personally will attempt to defeat every effort. First off, McDonnell's plans to put tolls on I-85 and I-95 at the North Carolina state line is unlikely to receive federal approval and end up just being another case of our spinning our wheels without making any progress. Second, it is my hope that portions of my industry that have deeper pockets then me will oppose the effort even if federal approval is received. Third, I intend to personally do everything I can to thwart such an effort even if the movers and shakers within my industry decline to do so.

I am extremely hopeful that you are the type of person who can provide the leadership required to get us over the hump. It is my understanding that you seriously considered retiring from politics. You would not be the type of person to run scared from threats to run you out of office. I know you do not do it for the money, because the paycheck really just is not there to adequately compensate you for the demands placed on you. You have all the attributes necessary to be the leader who is unafraid to reach out across party lines to find a solution to this problem. I noted with approval that you must have used your seniority to gain a seat on the Transportation Committee and I am hopeful you retain that seat.

I wish to disclose that I am intending to publish the contents of this letter to you on my blog. While my blog gets few visitors, my communications will be publicly available for anyone to see. Any response I receive might be published as well.

I also wish to state that I have never made even a dime in political campaign contributions to Bob Tata to date. I also do not think any future contributions are forthcoming in the near future. In this slow economy, combined with the bad luck I have been experiencing, I am worried about just keeping my business solvent as well as food on the family table.


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