In his State of the State speech last night, Governor Tim Kaine endorsed the repeal of one of the worst ideas to come out of last year’s General Assembly session:
RICHMOND, Jan. 9 — Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine called Wednesday night for a repeal of the controversial new fees on bad drivers and urged lawmakers to carefully scrutinize proposals to crack down on illegal immigration and not succumb to “sound bite” politics.
In his annual State of the Commonwealth address, Kaine (D), who defended the driver fees last year, said they have not improved highway safety or raised the revenue intended to pay for transportation projects since they went into effect July 1.
“We must continue to look for strategies to promote safety on the road,” said Kaine, who has been under pressure from fellow Democrats to end the fees. “The abuser-fee idea has flunked with voters, and we should acknowledge it and move on.”
Many Republicans immediately embraced Kaine’s suggestion, which probably will mean an end to the fees. Thousands of motorists petitioned against them. The fees, which range from $750 to $3,000, cover the most serious offenses, such as reckless driving.
The unanswered question is what this does to last year’s transportation package. Last summer, when the abusive driver fees went into effect and people started to complain, the backers of the fees said that they were a crucial part of the transportation plan. What happens when the abuser fees are gone will be interesting to watch.