$500K for a Bus Ride? Kaine's Not Worried

Governor says spending was justified

How much would you pay for a ride to the inauguration?

If you're Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, you'd pony up a cool half-million bucks ... and think nothing of it.  

After all, he initially thought it would cost twice that.  That's big savings!

Virginia, you see, was key in helping Barack Obama win the election. And the suddenly blue state's leader is best buds with our new president.  So why not show the love by trucking in thousands of supporters?  Look what I can do, my captain!

Now, now.  Let's not jump to conclusions. 

Kaine said Thursday during his monthly radio show that his relationship with Obama -- the man who tabbed him to head the Democratic National Committee -- had nothing to do with the $500,000 the state shelled out to bus Virginians to the inauguration. 

That's $500,000 spent at the same time other transit agencies raised prices or charged higher fares.

That's $500,000 at a time when officials are trying to find ways to curb a state budget shortfall of at least $2.9 billion.


Kaine said the state would have done the same for any president-elect expecting a huge inauguration crowd, according to the Associated Press. Kaine also said the move was appropriate because some routes into Washington were closed for security reasons, i.e. all the bridges leading from the Commonwealth to D.C.

About 75,000 people rode buses at state expense -- a cost of about $7 per passenger, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Kaine said Virginia is seeking reimbursement from the federal government.

If he doesn't get it? Eh, don't worry. Maybe he can drum up some anonymous online donations to pay for it...

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