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VA Senate Democrats Reject Transportation Plans that Raid Education and Public Safety Funding

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This just in from the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus. All I have to say is “good riddance,” now kill the monstrosity that came out of the House today.

RICHMOND, VA — Today, Senate Democrats rejected transportation plans that took significant money away from education and public safety and did not raise enough revenue to solve Virginia's transportation crisis. Senator Newman's plan to transfer money from the general fund was defeated on a vote of 22-18. Senator Wagner's plan to raise the gas tax was defeated 27-8. The Governor's plan was sent back to committee, taking it out of consideration for the session.

Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said, "I go home deeply disappointed tonight. Although we saw three different transportation plans on the Floor, all were 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."

Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) 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."

Regarding Senator Wagner's proposal, Senator Saslaw continued, "The average price of a gallon of gas last night was probably close to $3.15. That would have likely only raised about 25 cents per gallon. That's nothing — not enough. And he gambles the other half of his plan on the Marketplace Equity Act passing Congress? This bill was poorly conceived."

Regarding Senator Wagner's proposal, Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) said, "This is a 53-page proposal that was put on our desks today. This is the biggest issue of the Session, and maybe of the last ten years. We haven’t been at the table. This has a lot of good parts to it, but this process is not the process that you go through if you’re serious about passing statewide law."