Gov. McAuliffe on tolls, ethics, sequestration

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe kicked off Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a community leaders breakfast at Old Dominion University.

Monday morning, the governor spoke about empowerment through education, engagement and entrepreneurship. But in an exclusive one-on-one interview with 10 On Your Side, he talked about tunnel tolls, ethics reform, budget cuts and sequestration.

VIDEO: Complete one-on-one interview with Gov. McAuliffe

Tunnel Tolls & Public-Private Partnerships:

Governor McAuliffe reiterated the VDOT contract with Elizabeth River Crossings that put tolls on the Downtown and Midtown tunnels is the worst deal he’s ever seen.

“Now the Secretary of Transportation must sign off on any contract … this is the worst deal I’ve ever seen.”

WAVY.com asked the governor if the state will pay down the tunnel tolls any more. “No, I’ve done all I can,” he replied.

Ethics Reform: 

10 On Your Side asked Governor McAuliffe what damage the Bob and Maureen McDonnell gifts scandal has done to Virginia’s reputation. “It has not put Virginia in a good light,” he replied.

Governor McAuliffe has made it very simple for his family, his administration, their families, and himself to not trip over any gift-giving laws: no one takes a give worth more than a $100. He also supports an ethics commission with teeth.

“I want an ethics commission that has subpoena power, ability to investigate, and the ability to sanction people who may violate the gift ban,” he said. “Without that, it is meaningless.”

McAuliffe also said there is a need to reform rules for those who serve on State boards or commissions: “I want to get rid of this insane system we have that you can be on a board or commission in Virginia, and you can vote on matters that help you, your family, your business partner,” he said.

Budget Cuts & Sequestration:

“October one is a judgment day for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said about the automatic Department of Defense cuts known as sequestration.

The governor painted a picture of defense cut Armageddon. “We can no longer rely on this federal government that will go in with a meat cleaver. It will be devastating,” McAuliffe said.

Congressman Bobby Scott of Newport News (D-Va.) thinks it could happen: “If you start off with the idea you aren’t going to raise taxes, you are going to end up with sequester, because no one would want to be associated with the kinds of cuts that would be necessary to come up with $1.2 trillion,” Scott said after the MLK breakfast at ODU.

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