Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Gov. McDonnell's transportation bill passes state senate

NBC-29 reported that the state senate passed Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation bill:
The state Senate voted to approve Gov. Bob McDonnell's omnibus transportation bill Monday, ensuring a major legislative victory for the GOP administration.

Senators voted 34-6 in favor of the proposal, a version of which has already cleared the House of Delegates.
Those who voted for and against was interesting, proving no vote is a sure thing. According to WHSV TV-3, Valley legislators were split on their support of the Governor's bill:
... Democratic Sen. Creigh Deeds raised concerns about the reliability of federal highway aid that would repay about $1.1 billion of the bonds.

Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger, from Mount Solon, also voted against the bill, saying he is worried about the state taking on so much debt.

"The real issue that I could not resolve," said Hanger, "was the plan doesn't involve any new funding, other than just accelerating the use of funds that are already available to us through bonds."

Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain, from Harrisonburg, voted in favor of the transportation bill.

The proposal passed the House of Delegates last week with a vast majority.

Most delegates from the Valley supported it, including Republicans Dickie Bell, Steve Landes, Tony Wilt, and Todd Gilbert.

However Republican Del. Ben Cline, who represents part of Augusta County, voted against the bill.
That presents an interesting split in the Valley representatives.

The Governor, naturally pleased that long overdue transportation projects can now be funded, commented on its passage:
“With each new vote in the General Assembly recognizing the merits of our transportation program, we are moving closer to jumpstarting needed transportation projects that will reduce congestion, create jobs and open additional parts of the Commonwealth to economic development while creating a rail operating and capital fund to ensure the continuation of Virginia's passenger rail system.

"This fiscally conservative plan leverages our available resources and bonding authority to expedite the important transportation improvements we need. It also saves taxpayers money by capitalizing on some of the best interest rates and construction bids in modern history.

"This measured, prudent and responsible plan has been supported by nearly 50 cities, transportation and business organizations and groups, and was approved by the House of Delegates on Friday. Today the Senate has voted in support of the plan. We look forward to final passage of the measure by the entire General Assembly. Working in a bipartisan manner we are going to get new roads, bridges and mass transit projects started immediately, and our entire Commonwealth will benefit.”
Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon

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