Va. Gov.: Nats, Metro ‘regional issue'; Goode no good for GOP

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

WASHINGTON – Finding the money to keep Metro open for Nationals postseason games is a regional issue, says the governor of Virginia, who has instructed his delegate to the transit governing board to find a solution.

“It’s obviously a money issue, an unplanned expense,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” program. “It’s obviously a regional issue.”

McDonnell has told James Dyke, Virginia’s representative on the Metro Board, to “engage in discussions” for funding Metro’s extended hours. The Nationals postseason begins in three weeks.

“We don’t want everyone stranded,” says McDonnell. “We do want to try every way possible to make sure…that service is available.”

“Maybe if everyone contributes a little bit, we’ll be able to get this done.”

In other transportation news, the governor says the HOT lanes will be completed within the “next couple months.”

“I’m hoping no later than November,” he says.

As the presidential campaign gets into full swing, McDonnell also reminded Virginia voters that new regulations require they bring some sort of identification to their polling stations. This does not have to be a photo ID, he says. A copy of an electrical bill with a current name and address, for example, would also work. Learn more at the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Third-party candidate Virgil Goode, a former Republican U.S. congressman running on the Constitution Party ticket, is not a threat to Romney’s conservative support, McDonnell says. He added that anyone who does not want President Barack Obama to win reelection should vote for Romney.

“If people want to see Obama replaced, they really need to vote for Mitt Romney, or they’re wasting their vote,” he says.

Learn more in our live blog:

10:57 a.m., speaking about a spike in poverty, despite shrinking unemployment:

We’re seeing it all over the country. Gas prices have doubled. We have the highest levels of debt, “going the way of Greece, fast.”

“The president didn’t create the problem, but he’s making it far worse.”

“This class warfare the president continues to engage in may sound good, but it doesn’t help the country.”

10:53 a.m., speaking about providing more comprehensive health care and Medicaid eligibility:

The opportunities for 23 million Americans now have been dimmed considerably because of unemployment under Barack Obama.

My top priority is getting people back to work so they can gain access to employer-based health insurance.

10:47 a.m., speaking about unemployment numbers:

“This is the biggest priority for every governor in America.”

“We celebrate success. We don’t do what Barack Obama says with saying, ‘You didn’t build that business.'”

10:45 a.m., speaking about early and absentee voting in Virginia:

Virginia is not an early voting state. We have 14 statutory reasons where absentee ballot voting is permitted, such as traveling outside the country, jury duty or working more than 11 hours a day.

The military is probably the biggest group that works that way.

We passed a new law that requires you to bring an ID to the polls. That is not necessarily a photo ID. We expanded the number of pieces of identification, such as an electricity bill or a government ID.

10:43 a.m., speaking about Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode, and how might affect the November election:

This will not affect Mitt Romney at all. He switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party before running for U.S. Congress because he thought they had left him.

He’s not going to win.

“If people want to see Obama replaced, they really need to vote for Mitt Romney, or they’re wasting their vote.”

“I see a lot of enthusiasm I didn’t see four years ago for our team.” I think that’s going to help us.

10:37 a.m., speaking about the abortion dialogue in Republican campaigns:

I disagree with the contention that abortion, contraception or Mitt Romney’s tax returns are at “the forefront” of the election. The forefront should be the “failed policies” of President Obama.

Republicans are pro-life. The Democrats are the pro-choice party. This is the way it’s been for a while.

All we did was affirm we are the party that will protect innocent human life.

10:34 a.m., speaking about abortion clinic building regulations to bring them closer to hospital standards:

General Assembly passed a law in 2007 saying that abortion clinics needed to be regulated by new building standards. Emergency legislation denied any “grandfathering” for existing clinics from the new regulation. A close vote in the assembly overturned that, and the most recent action maintained the original denial of grandfathering.

I certainly don’t agree with the contention that this will put every abortion clinic out of business.

I’m frankly more concerned with Washington killing energy regulations.

10:28 a.m., speaking about reducing drivers on cellphones instead of yearly inspections:

State police believe inspections contribute to public safety.

It’s worth looking at, if there’s a way to reduce inconvenience for drivers.

10:22 a.m., speaking about seating a nominee on Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority:

For several years, I’ve had concerns about whether they were concerned about Virginians and spending tax money.

10:17 a.m., speaking about HOT lanes:

We should have an opening within the next couple months. I’m hoping no later than November.

10:14 a.m., speaking about the U.S. Senate race between Kaine and Allen, and their views on tolls:

Tolls on I-95 were authorized under Gov. Kaine. We have some real safety issues that need to be made on I-95, we have some resurfacing, and “there are no free lunches.”

If you raise money on a road, you use those profits solely in that corridor.

“I’m fine using (toll revenues).” “It is an appropriate user fee.”

10:13 a.m., speaking about paying for tolls without a credit card:

VDOT regulates those roads in an attempt to cut down on manpower or “otherwise improve some sort of efficiency” with constructing those booths.

“We’ll take a look at that.”

10:04 a.m., speaking about who should pay for Metro’s late hours for Nationals post-season games:

We’re cognizant of the fact that a huge portion of Nats fans, roughly 40 percent, come from Virginia.

“It is a regional issue that can be worked out on (the Metro) board.”

We have three weeks before the playoffs start. I’m confident they’ll be able to solve this issue by then.

“I can’t tell you what the answer is now other than, ‘I’m aware of it.'”

“I’m not familiar with the details” of other organizations, such as the Redskins and the Capitals, and at performance venues like the Verizon Center, which paid for Metro to stay open late.

WTOP’s Paul D. Shinkman contributed to this report. Follow Paul and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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