Saturday, February 23, 2013

25-15: landmark transportation bill passes Virginia Senate

"There is a 'Virginia Way' of cooperation and problem solving, and we saw it work again today in Richmond. A historic day in Virginia."
--Governor Bob McDonnell

Virginia's landmark bipartisan transportation bill passed the Virginia State Senate in a vote of 25-15 on Saturday afternoon. On Friday it had passed the House by a vote of 60-40.

Tucker Martin, communications director for Governor Bob McDonnell, tweeted after the vote, "Worked for for 7+ years. An honor -- never more so than today. Brought Virginians together to fix transportation. RIC is not DC."

Tucker's assessment: "Transportation passes w votes of 43 Republicans and 42 Democrats. Gets over 60 percent in each house. That's bipartisan as it gets."

The Governor took to Twitter, too, noting, "We have worked together across party lines to find common ground & pass the 1st sustainable long-term transportation funding plan in 27 yrs."

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, who had joined the Governor in supporting the bill, tweeted afterward, "I commend members of the Senate & House for coming together to forge a historic transportation agreement."

From House Speaker Bill Howell, "This is a truly historic moment for Virginia. We have passed a bipartisan funding plan that will address VA's transportation needs."

An eleventh-hour ruling by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli threatened to derail the legislation that had been supported by McDonnell and Bolling. Early Saturday, however, legislators said they felt they had language in place to cover any questions to the bill.

Throughout it all, McDonnell was a voice of reason in his leadership while working through the transportation issue that had been put on the back burner in the Commonwealth for 30 years.

The bill now goes to the Governor's desk.

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