McDonnell roads plan on life support after Senate votes
The State Senate voted to send Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan back to committee, effectively killing it for the 2013 session and leaving only a plan passed by the House alive for consideration.
A bill from Virginia Beach Republican State Sen. Frank Wagner to raise the gas tax to 8 percent was defeated by a 27-8 vote, and a proposal from Sen. Steve Newman (R-Forest) to replace McDonnell’s sales-tax increase with a 5.5 percent wholesale tax on fuel failed on a 22-18 vote.
Sen. Donald McEachin called all three alternatives “woefully inadequate to the transportation challenges Virginia faces.”
“I cannot vote for a plan that does not raise sufficient revenue to repair Virginia’s roads, bridges and tunnels; start long-delayed, needed new construction; and invest in mass transit. I also cannot vote for a plan that raids hundreds of millions of dollars from education and public safety,” McEachin said.
“I wish we could have reached agreement tonight, but none of the transportation proposals we saw tonight were anything close to the long-term comprehensive solution Virginia needs. The Governor’s bill has been fatally flawed since day one,” said Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax).