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Gov. McDonnell: U.S. ready to drill 1 year after oil spill

Tuesday - 7/26/2011, 11:42am  ET

(WTOP/Paul D. Shinkman)

Ask the Governor

Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks with WTOP's Mark Segraves


WASHINGTON -- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" with Mark Segraves on Tuesday.

Virginia would consider paying more for the Dulles Rail Project, McDonnell said, provided the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority give certain "concessions," such as including more Virginian representation on their 14 member board.

State employees "have got to" pay more into the retirement fund, which is $18 billion underfunded, McDonnell said.

He is also "furious" over the potential lowering of Virginia's bond rating.

This would mean significantly higher interest rates, McDonnell said, and potentially an inability for the state to borrow.

The state has maintained a triple-A bond rating for 75 years, he said, and it would be an "embarrassment" if that was lowered.

And a year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf, the federal government has restructured and should allow more oil drilling of the East Coast, McDonnell said.

If you missed the show, check out this audio at right and this live blog:

10:56 a.m., speaking about promoting family farming in Va.:

Agriculture by far is the largest state industry. Future Farmers of America has been encouraging youth to get involved.

10:54 a.m., speaking about cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay:

We're on track for the sediment reductions, but it's going to take a significant amount of money to meet these standards over the next 15 years.

10:53 a.m., speaking about gas prices:

I've written to Congress about off-shore drilling. We're a year after the Deepwater Horizon incident. I think the situation has improved, there's been restructuring at the federal level.

We need energy independence, we can do it off the Atlantic Coast.

10:52 a.m., speaking about Va. helmet laws:

I'm very concerned about people riding without helmets. It's a liberty versus public safety issue.

10:47 a.m., speaking about his political future:

I'm intently focused on Virginia. I'll have a leadership role in the Governor's Association. I'm not looking at anything, I'm not accepting calls.

"We need a new CEO in the White House and I'm going to work every way I can to help."

10:45 a.m., speaking about Project Veritas' video of a Va. Medicaid office:

We've asked for a police investigation. That might have disqualified that person from receiving state benefits. Medicaid fraud is a huge issue in Virginia.

It's a rip-off for the taxpayer.

I don't know what's happened to the employee in the video.

10:42 a.m., speaking about the moving Dulles Rail Project above ground:

It's a couple of extra minutes walk for $404 million. We still have a ways to go -- we have not resolved some important governance structural issues, like making sure the counties the rail pass through has a role in the decision making process.

We want to make sure Virginians have a say in MWAA -- only 5 of the 14 votes are from Virginia.

"What I cannot have is a structure put in place that dramatically ratchets up the tolls for future Virginians."

10:34 a.m., speaking about al-Qaida encouraging people to attend Va. gun shows to purchase weapons:

At guns shows, anyone who buys a weapon does go through a background check if it's purchased by a licensed gun dealer.

We have penalties in place to regulate private gun exchanges.

10:33 a.m., speaking about Caylee's Law, making it a felony for a guardian to not report a child mission within 24 hours:

It's consistent with a few other laws we have of "required notice." I'd certainly want to look at the penalty structure, but I think it shocked the country watching that case in Florida.

"You balance the privacy concerns of a family with the fact that if a young child is missing, there ought to be an event to trigger a law enforcement response."

10:32 a.m., speaking about Ashley's Law requiring first responders to run lights and sirens through intersections:

Engaging in high speed engagements is an inherently dangerous law enforcement activity. We certainly hope this will cut down on civilian deaths.

10:23 a.m., speaking about a budget surplus:

We have an extra $311 million. The next component is the "savings component."

Now the surplus will be put into things like water quality improvement, the rainy day fund, mental health, transportation improvements.

Very little is "discretionary" money for the governor to use. Hopefully there will be more money going into the "unappropriated" balance which could be used on things like transportation.

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