Sen. Steve Newman’s floor amendment was rejected on a 22-18 vote.
The House passed an amended version of the transportation funding package. That version, with the Republican governor’s backing, passed on a bipartisan 53-46 vote. Several conservative Republicans voted no to the five-year, $3.1 billion plan.
Amendments Monday by Delegate S. Chris Jones, Suffolk Republican, eliminated a $100 fee on new hybrid car purchases but conditioned new tolls on Virginia interstates on legislative approval. It retained other major features of Mr. McDonnell’s original legislation.
“We have an opportunity to send a bill to the other end of the Capitol and continue the debate,” Mr. Jones said. “Do I like everything in it? No I don’t.”
Delegate Vivian E. Watts, Fairfax Democrat and a former state transportation secretary, said the plan yields insufficient money — particularly in the traffic-clogged urban crescent stretching from Northern Virginia through the Richmond area to Hampton Roads.
“I can’t vote for it because it’s bad economics, I can’t vote for it because it’s bad policy, I can’t vote for it because it doesn’t address the need,” she said.
“The floor substitute that passed with my support, by removing the fee, by removing the tolls, is one I am advocating every member of the General Assembly in the House to pass,” Mr. McDonnell said.
Mr. McDonnell had said he would not accept the Senate substitute by Mr. Newman, Lynchburg Republican, which would have generated about $600 million less than Mr. McDonnell’s original measure over five years.
“Whopping tax increases are dead on arrival,” he said. “The Senate plan is a whopping tax increase that I can’t sign, it won’t pass.”
Mr. Newman said his changes were made more to shore up lagging support among Republican Senate conservatives than to appease Democrats. Mr. McDonnell’s plan was decreed to be a tax increase by Washington-based anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, whose Americans for Tax Reforms solicits no-tax-increase pledges from elected officials and calls out those he believes have violated them.View Entire Story
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