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Roanoke Free Press
Friday, February 22, 2013

Democratic support pushes transportation bill passage

Without House Democrats supporting the compromise transportation bill it would have failed.

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe praised the House of Delegates passage of the bipartisan transportation compromise while Senator Mark Obenshain Republican candidate for attorney general says he’ll vote against it because it raises taxes. See their statements below.

TODAY: The House of Delegates passed a bipartisan transportation bill, HB 2313, to address the Commonwealth’s urgent transportation needs.  The final vote was 60-40.  25 Democrats supported the bill, 78% of the House Democratic Caucus.

Several members of the House Democratic Caucus responded to the passage of the bipartisan transportation measure.

“Democrats have been committed to finding a bipartisan solution to our transportation funding problems for years.  This bill, while not perfect, provides sufficient revenues to assist the Commonwealth in modernizing its transportation infrastructure.  It is long overdue and I am pleased to support it,” said House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D- Charlottesville).

“For over two decades. members from both sides of aisle have struggled to address our pressing transportation needs.  Finally, we have a bill that will put us on a solid path.  The Commonwealth and her people will be well served,” said Former Transportation Secretary Delegate Vivian Watts (D- Fairfax).

“Far from perfect, but the bill helps recover the lost purchasing power accumulated after 27 years of inaction, false starts and gimmicks.  It provides a real tool to begin unwinding traffic and moving people in the Commonwealth’s fastest growing regions.  Democrats were proud to provide the margin of victory”,” commented House Democratic Caucus Leader Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax).

“Hampton Roads has some of the Commonwealth’s most acute transportation needs.  Gridlock diminishes our economic competitiveness and hinders our quality of life.  Although the bipartisan bill is not a silver bullet, I am pleased that the plan allows Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to raise local revenue for local transportation projects.  This autonomy will allow our region to advance much needed infrastructure projects and enhance economic vitality in Hampton Roads, as well as the entire Commonwealth as a whole,” said Delegate Matthew James (D- Portsmouth).

Terry McAuliffe: 

“I applaud the bipartisan passage of this mainstream transportation compromise through the House of Delegates. While this bill is far from perfect, it is imperative that we make progress and avoid the extreme gridlock that has plagued the roads of Virginia and the halls of Richmond for far too long. I strongly urge the Senate to follow suit and join Governor McDonnell, Lt. Governor Bolling, and the Democrats and Republicans in the House in coming together on a mainstream compromise to improve Virginia’s transportation system.”

Senator Mark Obenshain:

“I want to support a transportation deal, but I can’t back this one. The transportation compromise before the General Assembly is the worst kind of compromise: it is a massive tax increase that doesn’t address some of our fundamental problems. There’s also a serious question of fairness, since the plan includes regional tax authorities that will levy significantly higher taxes on those in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

The failure to devote a more significant portion of revenue surpluses to transportation is particularly telling: if Virginia can’t even put its unanticipated windfalls into transportation, is it really fair to say we’re treating transportation as the priority it ought to be?”

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