By Andy Schmookler
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, [R-Va.], I saw that you voted against the measure to fund transportation. Why?
Surely you know that our roads and bridges and other infrastructure are in bad shape.
You must know that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America's infrastructure a grade of D not long ago. Here in Virginia, our Department of Transportation lists 1,764 Virginia bridges as "structurally deficient" and 3,226 Virginia bridges as "functionally obsolete."
So why did you vote to block this important bill that can help us address such pressing needs? Do you care about the condition of the roads our children's school buses are driving on?
Then there are the jobs -- perhaps the most pressing problem that Americans are experiencing in these tough economic times. This transportation bill likely will create some 2 million jobs in America, many of them right here in our district.
What's more important to you than getting people back working and making an important contribution to our society's well-being? Are you listening to the people in our area, along the Interstate 81 corridor, who are struggling with these hard times?
I know that, with your Republican colleagues, you've voted against just about every bill attempting to create jobs. But on this transportation bill, you were even more obstructionist than the others in your party. One of the two co-sponsors of the bill in the Senate was Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., one of the most conservative in that body. And of the eight Republican Virginia congressmen, only one joined you in voting against this bill.
Why would you take such an extreme position? Doesn't a spirit of moderation better represent the people of the Shenandoah and Roanoke valleys?
Maybe it's popular to declare against "spending." But, aside from the fact that this is the very best time for the government to be spending on projects like this - when we need the jobs, and when interest rates are at historic lows -- surely you've been around long enough - with your 10 terms in Congress - to understand that some "spending" must be understood as "investment."
Isn't it a conservative value to invest in our future?
As the president of that American Society of Civil Engineers said, "Crumbling infrastructure has a direct impact on our personal and economic health, and the nation's infrastructure crisis is endangering our future prosperity."
America is richer for having "spent" to build the interstate highway system. We in the 6th District depend on our roads and bridges, and on the state's ports and railroads, for our personal and economic health.
Our national greatness was built upon the canals, roads, railroads, power grids and other aspects of infrastructure that, since our founding, our government has helped to create.
Have you got some unknown plan for how America can maintain its greatness even while the underpinnings of our national prosperity crumble away?
Or has "just say no to getting anything accomplished" simply become a habit with you?
Andy Schmookler is the Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia's Sixth Congressional District.