State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain of Harrisonburg, the Republican candidate for attorney general, today vowed to represent Northern Virginia commuters in State Corporation Committee meetings and public service corporation toll proceedings as attorney general. Tolls on the Dulles Greenway, for example, have soared since 2006 – up 78 percent during peak hours.
“With peak tolls on the Dulles Greenway rising to $4.90 and further hikes ahead, more and more Loudoun County commuters will find themselves priced out of the Greenway,” Obenshain said in a media call today. ” That traffic spills onto already congested alternative routes. I understand the burden of high tolls. For daily commuters, the monthly cost of using the Greenway can exceed the cost of a car payment,” he said.
Obenshain brought the sensitive toll issue right to his Democratic opponent’s home turf – state Sen. Mark Herring is from Loudoun County. “Mark Herring has made no public pledge to represent those commuters in SCC hearings, despite the outcry from leaders and commuters in his own district,” Obenshain said.
In a recent attorney general debate, Obenshain had already underscored his belief that it is important for the office of the attorney general to have a role in toll proceedings. “The attorney general’s consumer affairs office has the ability to step in and participate in these proceedings as a watchdog. I would as attorney general appear on behalf of toll payers in toll proceedings, and would represent the commuters of Virginia,” Obenshain said.
Herring-spokesman Kevin O’Holleran responded that it is the attorney general’s job to represent consumers before the SCC as consumer counsel. “We are glad to hear that Senator Obenshain has learned what the job he’s running for entails,” he said. O’Holleran also cited Herring’s efforts to fight excessive tolling. “This is just another desperate attempt by the Obenshain campaign to divert attention away from his and Ken Cuccinelli’s extreme record,” he said.