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Virginia Senate Passes Heavily-Amended Transportation Funding Bill

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With less than three weeks left in the legislative session, Virginia legislators need to pass a transportation funding plan.
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With less than three weeks left in the legislative session, Virginia legislators need to pass a transportation funding plan.

The Virginia Senate struck another blow against Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to kill the state gas tax Wednesday.

The Governor's transportation funding package was resurrected in the Senate just long enough for it to be rewritten again. By a 26-14 vote, senators drastically amended the bill, sending it back to the House of Delegates, where a Republican majority is expected to oppose it.

The Senate plan makes major changes to the Governor's package — most important, it would not only restore, but increase the gasoline tax the House bill repealed. McDonnell wants to eliminate the 17.5 cents-per-gallon state gasoline tax.

In a statement following the passage of the Senate bill, McDonnell issued a statement calling for "greater reliance on sustainable revenue resources which grow with economic activity." This no doubt refers to his proposal to raise the state sales tax from 5 to 5.8 percent to generate additional transportation funding.

The fate of the measure now lies in the hands of a select committee of senators and delegates with input from McDonnell's administration. They will have to find a compromise between the widely different positions before the end of the legislative session in less than three weeks.

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