Transportation bill passed in Virginia

By John O'Brien | Apr 5, 2007


RICHMOND, Va. - A transportation bill backed by Attorney General Bob McDonnell was passed late Wednesday by Virginia's General Assembly.

McDonnell saw passing the bill, which was crafted by Republican legislators and contained amendments from Democratic Gov. Timothy Kaine, as a necessity to keeping Virginia's business-friendly reputation.

"Over the last four months, this comprehensive legislation was improved to provide the policies and resources needed to sustain Virginia's economic expansion and reputation as the most business-friendly state in the country," McDonnell said.

"This legislation provides for significant new statewide transportation funding, regional traffic congestion solutions and proactive land use reforms, and does so without a statewide tax increase. I congratulate the leaders of the General Assembly for enacting the transportation bill."

Forbes magazine ranked Virginia as the state with the friendliest business climate last year, and McDonnell feels the bill will make the state look even more attractive to businesses. Congestion, he said, has become a problem in the Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia areas.

The House of Delegates accepted the final bill with an 85-15 vote, while the Senate voted 29-9 in favor of it.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Senate Republican Floor Leader Thomas K. Norment said the bill won't be able to create enough money for the state's transportation agency, and called the bill "one of the ugliest bastard stepchildren" to come out of the Senate.

The bill's plan begins with $3 billion in bonds, which will be repaid over the next 20 years. It includes a tax on automobile insurance that currently goes into a fund that supports education, police and social services, the report says.

McDonnell said it was "the most extensive and far-reaching transportation reform and investment legislation in a generation."

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