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McDonnell Urges Action On Transportation In State Of The Commonwealth

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is moving forward with an aggressive agenda for the General Assembly session, which he outlined in his 2013 State of the Commonwealth address last night. McDonnell used the speech to urge lawmakers to enact his education and transportation reforms. 

"Please do not leave without approving a long-term transportation funding plan for Virginia," McDonnell said. "And please do not send me a budget that does not include new transportation funding because we are out of excuses. The time to act is now."

To fund ongoing maintenance and new transportation projects, McDonnell is asking lawmakers to do away with the 17.5-cent state gas tax — which was last increased in 1986 — and replace it by raising the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent.

"The more we sit and debate, the more we sit and wait because better transportation means better jobs," McDonnell said.

McDonnell's legacy is at stake. When the governor took office, Virginia was the number one state in which to do business in a CNBC ranking. Now, the commonwealth has been downgraded to number three, largely because of the infrastructure problems associated with the commonwealth's failed transportation grid.

Those who watched the speech may have gotten a new jolt of recognition for the venue. Much of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster movie, Lincoln, was filmed in the Virginia House of Delegates chamber, which was built about 50 years after the Civil War.

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