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Despite Friendly Crowd, McDonnell Still Has To Do Some Convincing On Liquor

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By Jonathan Wilson

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell stopped in Fairfax County for the fifth of eight planned town hall meetings Wednesday night.

He spent much of the meeting discussing his plan to privatize the state's liquor stores to raise money for transportation needs.

McDonnell says selling off the state's liquor store monopoly will raise hundreds of millions of dollars, by allowing private stores that already sell beer and wine, to sell distilled spirits as well.

"20 percent of the people that do drink in Northern Virginia, go buy their products in D.C.," says McDonnell.

He addressed the crowd gathered at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon.

"I'd rather have 'em spend that money in Fairfax County and generate money for your roads," he says.

Most residents who signed up to speak were supportive of the governor's plan, and supportive of almost anything that could improve roads in Northern Virginia.

But McDonnell, a Republican, still has to convince state lawmakers across the aisle.

In the crowd Wednesday night was Arlington delegate, and Democrat, Bob Brink, who says he's still waiting to see the Governor's final proposal, but has doubts about how much it would really help.

"The one-time windfall of $300-500 million really isn't going to go that far in addressing our transportation needs either in Northern Virginia or statewide," says Brink.

McDonnell says he still plans to call a special session to address transportation needs and other government reforms, but not until after election season is over.

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