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Clock Is Ticking On Virginia Transportation Funding Compromise

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Lawmakers in Virginia have until Saturday to come up with a compromise to fund state transportation plans.
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Lawmakers in Virginia have until Saturday to come up with a compromise to fund state transportation plans.

Legislative negotiators in Virginia are trying to reconcile two widely differing transportation funding bills. They say an agreement between them is possible, but finding one that can win final passage is still a tall order.

Five delegates and five senators were huddling for the third time Monday evening with both parties reporting headway toward a possible handshake deal by Saturday's General Assembly adjournment.

For the House to accept it, however, Republican Del. Chris Jones says Senate Democrats have to allow about five times more existing sales tax money to be used for transportation than the Senate bill now allows.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's original proposal called for replacing the state's 17.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax with an increase in the state sales tax. The Republican-controlled House passed a version similar to that proposal, which was rejected by the Senate.

Democratic Del. Onzlee Ware says House Republicans and Gov. Bob McDonnell must accept keeping at least some of the state's gasoline tax in place.

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