Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe discussed transportation, hunting and Medicaid expansion during his inaugural Ask the Governor appearance on WTOP.
WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe made history when he signed a bill into law during his inaugural Ask the Governor program on WTOP Wednesday.
McAuliffe, a Democrat, signed into law HB 975 repealing the commonwealth’s $64 fee that comes when buying a hybrid vehicle. It marked the first time bill had been signed into law on air on WTOP.
McAuliffe eliminated the tax because it was a disincentive for purchasing hybrid vehicles, he says.
“I think what people want is common sense, practical governing and this made no sense,” McAuliffe said of the fee during WTOP’s Ask the Governor program.
The commonwealth is home to about 75,000 hybrid vehicle owners — many whom live in Northern Virginia, he said. The fee will go away July 1, 2014.
Also during the show, McAuliffe, a hunter, says he will support a bill allowing hunting on Sundays in Virginia.
McAuliffe said “for folks who work six days a week, [Sunday] is the only day [they can hunt].”
“I’m sure it will be on my desk shortly,” he said.
The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate are sharply divided on Medicaid expansion: House Republicans in Richmond have been attacking the Medicaid expansion and the Democratic-controlled Senate has passed the plan for expansion. McAuliffe is pushing hard for expansion.
While many say it could lead to a fiscal mess, McAuliffe says it can help thousands of Virginians get the medical care they need, while keeping resources in the commonwealth.
“We are paying this money in, there is no choice about that,” McAuliffe said. “We have already forfeited over $270 million that could have come from the federal government back to Virginia to provide health care.”
“Bring it back to us, provide help for these folks, give them the care that they deserve,” he said.
McAuliffe is setting his aims high when it comes to transportation.
He says he is working to discuss the addition of another bridge over the Potomac River. He’s also keeping close tabs on the progress of the Silver Line before its summer 2014 opening and wants to keep tolls on the Dulles Toll Road from increasing.
He says a $1.9 million loan will help keep tolls rates flat. Each year, he will take “$100 million and apply toward keeping tolls low.”
“I support tolls, but they’ve got to be fair and they’ve got to be reasonable, and they can not affect your ability to grow your businesses and do commerce. It shouldn’t affect quality of life,” McAuliffe said.