Senate to vote Saturday on historic transportation bill

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — In a sharply divided House of Delegates, lawmakers give the green light to Governor Bob McDonnell’s comprehensive transportation plan.

In a 60-40 vote, the House passed the legislation intended to fix Virginia’s highways and byways.

HB 2313 calls for higher taxes on new car sales, a bump in the sales tax to 5.3% and a wholesale tax on fuel which would replace the current 17.5 cent a gallon tax.

“In my estimation we wont have to have deal with roads for a long time because we are putting in a growing sense of revenue,” said Del. Kirk Cox (R) Colonial Heights.

There was some speculation that Democrats would not support the bill because Governor McDonnell publicly opposed an expansion of Medicare in Virginia under the Affordable Care Act.

“This is an important vote. I think what we are going to see is money coming to Richmond that wasn’t initially there because it was going to Northern Virginia,” said Democrat Jennifer McClellen.

CBS6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth believes Mr. McDonnell’s legacy can be found in between the lines of his transportation bill.

“This is a Bob McDonnell legacy vote today. Basically what the governor is saying is that even though he is a conservative Republican he is willing to raise taxes to fix the road,” Holsworth said.

Delegates deeply opposed to the bill, like Manassas Republican Delegate Bob Marahall, say they’re having difficulty digesting this GOP legislation.

“Get ready to pay more! This is like a born-again experience. I thought this was something the Democrats came up with because there are so many taxes. I don’t think the citizens will like it,” Marahall said.

The Senate, which had been expected to vote on the bill late Friday, had adjourned for the day and is expectted to vote on the bill Saturday.

Gov. McDonnell’s office is not commenting until the Virginia Senate votes on the issue.

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