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The Washington Post - Ad Watch: Ripping Into Deeds's Approach To Transportation

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"The Washington Post says Creigh Deeds has 'not even bothered to formulate' much of a transportation plan. On road funding, Deeds's approach is 'as politically expedient as it is irresponsible.' Deeds's 'approach to transportation funding is to sidestep the subject.' Bob McDonnell's transportation plan 'deserves credit for the extent and specificity of its proposals,' like selling state liquor stores to invest a half-billion dollars to widen I-66, improve I-95 and expand Metro to Dulles."

The ad features excerpts from a Post editorial, floating alongside unflattering cutouts of Deeds. Ominous music turns more inspiring as the ad transitions to images of McDonnell chatting up Virginians and walking with his family.

Analysis:

This ad has been airing in Northern Virginia, where traffic congestion and transportation rank just behind the economy as top issues of concern. It draws on a July 29 editorial that it is particularly critical of McDonnell -- although you wouldn't know it from the ad.

The state's secondary road maintenance fund will be virtually empty by the end of next year, and the editorial argues that the only solution is to find a fresh funding source. But after dismissing Deeds for being evasive on the subject, it rips into McDonnell's plan. Moreover, Deeds has since said he would be open to a tax increase for transportation, which earned him unequivocal praise in a later editorial.

The July piece did have some nice things to say about McDonnell. Here is the full context:

"Mr. McDonnell's transportation plan -- all 19 pages of it -- deserves credit for the extent and specificity of its proposals. He acknowledges that current funding sources are inadequate and proposes some new ones. Unfortunately, the new revenue he identifies is one-time-only, many years distant or paltry. And he does not explain how, in the absence of credible, reliable new funding, he would wring out more cash for roads without harming other crucial state functions."

Deeds has pledged to come up with a solution in his first year in office but has offered no details. McDonnell has proposed paying for transportation by shifting state money, privatizing the state's liquor stores and adding tolls on some highways.


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