- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2002

The quiet summer of strategizing on how to deal with the Northern Virginia transportation referendum is going to heat up, as activists on both sides plan to step up their efforts.
Voters in nine Northern Virginia jurisdictions are going to the polls Nov. 5 to decide whether they want to raise their sales tax from 4 percent to 5 percent to fund transportation initiatives in the area to relieve regional gridlock.
Proponents of referendum said last week that they are going to begin radio ads this week to inform motorists of the need for the increased sales-tax revenue.
"We are doing a series of radio ads on the end of traffic reports on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," said Mame Reilly, campaign manager for Citizens for Better Transportation, the leading pro-referendum lobbying group.
"This will be part of our official kick-off as traffic returns to normal after the holiday and summer," she said, adding that the ad would contain information about the organization's Web site as well as information about the need for passage.
Mrs. Reilly did not have the exact number of stations that would air the ad or how much it would cost.
Gov. Mark R. Warner, a Democrat, campaigned on the issue in the fall and championed the referendum's passage through the General Assembly during his inaugural legislative session in the spring.
"I am going to get up and campaign, and build this case as much as need be," Mr. Warner said. He will begin by greeting commuters early this morning at the Horner Road commuter lot Virginia's largest commuter lot and busiest mass transit departure point located off of the Prince William County Parkway.
"The do-nothing approach of the opponents is not the kind of progressive attitude that we need to take in the commonwealth. Doing nothing means more gridlock," he said.
Meanwhile, opponents to the sales tax are planning to stage a rally this morning in the same commuter lot.
"The governor is calling it 'Terrible Traffic Tuesday.' Well, we are calling it 'Terrible Tax-Hike Tuesday.' We will be out [at the Horner Road lot] with our own counterdemonstration reminding voters that we are already taxed enough," said James Parmelee, spokesman for the Northern Virginia Republican Political Action Committee, which opposes the referendum.
Mr. Parmelee said that in addition to its rally today, his organization will start calling voters this week to ask them where they stand on the issue and sending out fliers. Expect more lawn signs to start springing up soon, too, he said.
"We have a commitment for 1,000 in Loudoun County alone," he said.
The Virginia Club for Growth and several other anti-tax organizations are sponsoring an all-day campaign kickoff against the referendum Saturday at the Holiday Inn in Ballston. The event is intended to mobilize Republicans from around the region to stop passage of the referendum. Organizers expect several hundred people to attend.
"We expect to unmask the falsehoods that have been espoused in support of this tax increase," said Peter Ferrara , president of the Virginia Club for Growth.

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