Caller question -- Gov has said we should boost mental health, but doesn't like entitlements or Obamacare. So what specifically does he suggest?
That's a question every state has to make within the scope of their budget. In Va., we've made improvements and reduced the size and scope of government. So by making decisions on what is important, we've been able to put money in the right places. The federal government has to do that. We've chosen to make mental health a priority. We found a way to make it work in our state.
Caller - Steve in Stafford:
Reforms before Medicaid is expanded. What role can gov. play?
The short answer is I would have no authority based on the legislation this year. It is tasked with evaluating a significant series of reforms that must be met before the expansion of Medicaid. Medicaid has expanded so much. Until we do some reform, find ways to create some accountability and drop these bills down to the taxpayer, I think it's not responsible to expand it.
Confidence in federal exchange to handle Medicaid volume:
I don't have a lot of confidence in the federal government. I think the greatest thing this nation can do is have a rebirth of federalism and have the states on the front lines. I think more and more authority has been put into federal government that should have been left to the states. Most states have opted to not have a state exchange.
Room for state involvement:
Yes, that's written into the law to handle some of these plans. I will we have been working with the federal government to do the best we can. Even though I don't like this law, we are working to do the best we can. The exchange will be up and running soon so there will be 3 months to make decisions.
Caller -- Doris
The Harry Nice bridge. It's between Va. and Md. The traffic is so terrible. What are you and the Md. governor's plans to alleviate this?
Transportation is going to dramatically over the next few years. As you know after 27 years of talking about it, I got a transportation bill through this past year. So on top of the 2011 bond bill, and a new infrastructure bank, we're going to be able to do a lot of things. I can tell you specifically about the bridge. Input from citizens saying what they think will make a big difference. The priority is for congestion relief and economic development.
Bi-county parkway. Some say McDonnell admin. is pushing to get this done fast before gov. leaves office -- so much so that a congressman from Utah is involved because of the Manassass battlefield. Isn't there another way to relieve traffic without building that highway?
That project was approved years and years ago with broad support, its just there was no money to get it done. The Commonwealth transportation board ultimately makes those decisions and they base those decisions on several factors. I'm just trying to get stuff done. I am tired of excuses and delays and not having the resources. My goal is to get this done.
What about shutting down 234?
Somebody doesn't want virtually every project. The government gets sued every time something like this is done. It will be on a phased basis. We will respect the integrity of the battlefield, but we are gonna get stuff done.
Tolls on Dulles Greenway. What can be done to keep toll rates in line?
Under the contract, we don't control that directly. Now that we've got this significant influx of money, we're going to be able to build things with less reliance on tolls. But the last couple years, the way we've been able to get things done is through tolls.
Should we be worried about beltway express lanes not getting the traffic? Will tolls raise there as well?
I know the vendor managing that project is continuing to find ways to work on that. I think they're very well aware of that and they're going to be able to make that work.
Eve of pivotal gubernatorial debate in Va. Seems like voters aren't thrilled with either candidate and looking toward libertarian. What's your take?
I'm supporting Ken Cuccinelli. He's a very smart guy. Got good ideas. But it's a very competitive race. I was fortunate to win by 18 percent four years ago. I think those days are gone. I'd like to see both candidates talk more on kitchen table issues. Ultimately it comes down to winning independent voters. And what they really care about is who is going to make their life better.
I'll do what the campaign asks me to do. Every candidate has to decide how to win their race, but I'm doing what I can to help. I've seen polls that say different things. All I can say is transferred intent doesn't win elections. What people want to know is 'what are you the candidate going to do for my family, for my state?'
Cost to taxpayers great for case against Gov.'s former cook. Looking back, are the costs for all this too high for stolen groceries?
I completely disagree with the way the question has been asked. There is a small staff at the governors mansion, and it's very sad when a personal member of your staff removes government property from the residence. But there are times when there are conflicts. The governor is entitled to have legal representation. Very infrequently conflicts come up and outside legal support is required. I can tell you the AG office has said the rates negotiated are well below the market rates for these sorts of things. And yeah, I wish the chef hadn't made that decision and we could have saved that money. It's unfortunate that it's happened. It's happened with every governor, and we do what we can to keep those costs as low as we can.
That's a wrap, folks. Thanks for joining us today and we hope you'll come back next month when Gov. McDonnell returns.