RICHMOND, Va. - With his term as Virginia's governor set to end in January, Terry McAuliffe sat down with FOX 5 for a wide-ranging interview in which he discussed the economy, gang violence, Metro, the new tolls on Interstate 66 and whether the backlash over workplace sexual harassment has put the legacy of his friend, former President Bill Clinton, in a new light.
We first started off by asking the governor about the Express Lanes tolls that debuted on I-66 Monday, which some drivers reported spiked to as much as $34 at one point during the morning rush.
“It is dynamic tolling,” said McAuliffe. “Now, early in the morning, it was $4.50. I was told for six minutes, it hit $34. But when those dynamic tolls go up, what they are trying to tell you – don’t go on the lanes.”
Communities in Northern Virginia have voiced concerns over violent gangs such as MS-13, but McAuliffe stands by his hardline stance against the Trump administration’s policies on fighting illegal immigration.
“His travel ban, his immigration policy have scared folks, have hurt small business, especially in Northern Virginia,” McAuliffe said. “But his policies have been a disaster for this state.”
McAuliffe has also been a frequent critic of Metro. He said one of the most alarming things about the transit system’s problems was the Metro Board letting the system to fall into disrepair. The governor wants a brand new reform board.
“The real problem beginning in 2006 when it hit 30 years old, that is when you start replacing the parts,” said the governor. “They didn’t do any of that. “So literally for the last 11 or 10 years, the board did not do what they were supposed to do.”
The governor told FOX 5 the backlash over workplace sexual harassment is a “game changer.” We asked what that means for the legacy of the person he calls his best friend – former President Bill Clinton.
“I was very clear back at that time, I was very public – I condemned the president,” McAuliffe said. “We are best friends, but I condemned him. I wrote a book and was very explicit that he made a horrible mistake back then and I did not shy away from that at the time, and I was very clear with him.”
McAuliffe said he will work to get Democrats elected and getting them to focus like he does on the economic progress. There is also the question of his own future in politics. Will he consider a presidential run in 2020?
“Well, if I were to announce it, I would do it on FOX for you Tom, but I am going to finish the year strong,” said McAuliffe. “Next year, I am going to take the lead on these 26 governors races so I will spend 2018 traveling all over the country.
McAuliffe’s legacy got a boost after his Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam was elected. With four of the last five governors being Democrats, McAuliffe said he has cemented the commonwealth as a Democratic state.