Renewing the debate over transportation funding?

Gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, who seemed to be leaning no on the question of support for the transportation funding reform that former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell pushed through in 2013, unveiled the transportation program he would push as governor, including a promise to “oppose any effort to roll back HB2313.”

HB2313 is what state legislators and lobbyists call McDonnell’s reform.

McDonnell’s reform swapped the state’s longstanding 17.5 cent-a-gallon gas tax for a new wholesale fuels tax that was intended to generate more money for roads as gas prices rose. It also included a regional sales tax surcharge for Hampton Roads that’s covering much of the Interstate 64 widening.

In addition to saying he’d oppose changing McDonnell’s funding system, Gillespie said he would oppose any mandate that the state sign a collective bargaining agreement with a union as a condition to awarding a highway construction contract. Federal policy under an executive order of President Barack Obama encourages these, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

His plan also says he would look at limited commercialization of highway rest stops, push for a constitutional amendment to create a “lockbox” for transportation tax and fee revenue so that they could not be used for other state programs, and support legislation requiring the state to maintain permanent, separate transportation funds.

He also called for public-private partnerships to replace the state’s many aging and deficient small bridges and a rural infrastructure coordinating committee to tackle the poor condition of rural roads, and said he would reverse Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s policy of focusing on transportation corridors, saying it hindered local government efforts to promote economic development.

Gillespie’s stand on McDonnell’s funding reform led Democratic candidate Ralph Northam’s campaign to accuse him of…

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