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Virginia Senate Panel Rewrites Governor's Transportation Plan

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A Virginia Senate committee has rewritten Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation funding reform bill. The proposal would keep and increase the gasoline tax, add a 1 percent fuel sales tax and allow localities to add another 1 percent tax to fuel, according to the Associated Press.

Changes to the legislation, which already passed in the House, came in a Senate Finance Committee meeting Tuesday. The meeting was briefly held up by a Republican senator's demand that the bill's sponsor, Republican House Speaker Bill Howell, appear and explain it. Republican Sen. Frank Wagner, however, offered his substitute to the Senate panel, which advanced it on a 9-6 vote.

The Senate finance panel's measure essentially reverses the governor's plan that passed in the house, which would have eliminated the gas tax and instead increase the sales tax.

The Senate version will face a floor vote later this week, and if it passes, return to the House where it will likely be rejected. That will set up negotiations for a small conference committee of delegates and senators.

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