- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2006

RICHMOND (AP) — A majority of Virginians want transportation improvements but don’t like most of the proposals offered by legislators and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a statewide poll published yesterday shows.

More than two-thirds of those responding to the District-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. survey said they favor a special session of the General Assembly to deal with transportation problems.

About 39 percent said they support higher taxes for transportation, and 30 percent favored cutting state spending elsewhere and spending the savings on rail, roads and transit projects.

Lawmakers are considering returning to Richmond next month to deal with transportation, the issue at the heart of this year’s unprecedented budget impasse.

J. Bradford Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon, said poll results suggest this isn’t the time for a special session.

“There just isn’t enough support to do something about transportation right now,” he said.

Despite the public’s cool reception to Mr. Kaine’s support for tax increases, 55 percent of poll respondents said the governor is doing an excellent or good job.

About 8 percent said he was doing a poor job.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, and a bipartisan majority in the Republican-controlled Senate insist that significant new revenue is needed for a meaningful solution to the state’s transportation woes.

Republican conservatives who control the House of Delegates oppose tax increases.

“It confirms what we’ve been saying: You shouldn’t raise taxes,” House Speaker William J. Howell, Stafford County Republican, said of the poll.

“You need a multifaceted approach.”

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Marty E. Williams, Newport News Republican and sponsor of a comprehensive transportation bill pending in a House committee, said the poll “is going to reinforce the House position not to do anything.”

The poll of 625 likely voters was conducted last Wednesday through Friday. The margin of sampling error was four percentage points.

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