To Transportation Funding Plan: House Says Yes, Senate Says No - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

To Transportation Funding Plan: House Says Yes, Senate Says No

Posted: Updated: Feb 5, 2013 09:24 PM EST

A solution to the state's worsening transportation funding problem could be on the road to nowhere.

Governor Bob McDonnell's $3.1 billion transportation funding plan met two very different fates in the houses of the Virginia legislature Tuesday.

Tuesday was crossover day, the day every session when bills literally cross from one house of the General Assembly to the other.

The governor's transportation plan would eliminate the state's 17.5 cent gas tax, and raise the state sales tax 0.8 percent to pay for roads, rail and transit.

A bipartisan 53-46 vote in the House of Delegates passed the plan, House Bill 2313,  with minor amendments, including one eliminating a $100 fee for fuel efficient vehicles.

The Senate iteration of the plan saw more partisan disagreements, and ultimately died after Democrats referred Senate Bill 1355 back to committee - effectively killing it for the year.

The Senate stalemate led to frustration and heated words from both sides. Senator Frank Wagner, who proposed a substitute transportation funding measure, said he was on a mission for his constituents - not for his party.

"Maybe we politically play, and we've got a great issue for a gubernatorial campaign," he said. "Well that's not what I'm about. I'm here tonight to get a transportation bill passed."

Senate Minority Leader Richard Saslaw said little had been done by Republicans to bridge the partisan divide on the issue.

"I don't have to apologize, nor does anybody over here, for not supporting a bill that everybody in this room knows has been fatally flawed from day one," Saslaw said. "The fat lady didn't sing today, but she's warming up."

The Senate will now take up the bill passed by the House of Delegates. But should lawmakers continue to find fault along party lines, a solution to Virginia's transportation funding problem is unlikely to happen in 2013.

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