WASHINGTON (CNN) – Calling his plan "honest, straightforward - and the only one that can succeed," Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds re-iterated on Wednesday that he will raise taxes to fix the state's transportation problems if necessary.
One week after a debate appearance in which he made confusing statements about whether he would support a tax hike to fund the state's transportation budget - remarks that were pounced upon by his Republican opponent Bob McDonnell - Deeds took to the opinion page of the Washington Post to make his position clear.
"As a legislator, I have voted for a number of mechanisms to fund transportation, including a gas tax," Deeds wrote. "And I'll sign a bipartisan bill with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation - even if it includes new taxes."
The issue of transportation - particularly the problem of finding ways to fix the jammed roadways of northern Virginia - has bogged down the Virginia General Assembly for years. The topic has become a flashpoint in this year's gubernatorial race, with McDonnell accusing Deeds of not having a concrete plan to pay for his plans to create high-speed rail and reduce traffic congestion.
Deeds has said for months that if elected, he wants to establish a bipartisan commission to develop "a comprehensive transportation package." He has promised not to raid the education budget to pay for transportation reforms.
McDonnell opposes raising taxes, and has said he will use a variety of methods to pay for transporation, including selling off Virginia's state-run liquor stores and collecting money from potential offshore drilling revenues.