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Update: VA Senate Passes Budget

Democrat Colgan changes his vote, and two-year, $85-billion budget is approved

A Virginia Senate Democrat changed his mind and voted for the budget Wednesday afternoon, enabling the two-year, $85-billion budget to pass 21-19.

Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) told The Washington Post he had a change of heart on the plan he had coted voted against on Tuesday.

While Colgan and other Senate Democrats had been pushing Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) for $300 million to extend Metrorail to Dulles International Airport, Colgan said the governor had not come through with funding, The Post reported. Colgan said he had simply come to the conclusion that the need to pass a state budget outweighed the need to secure funding for the project.

The Commonwealth had been preparing for a potential shutdown in May if a budget was not passed. 

The House passed the budget earlier in the week. The budget now goes to McDonnell.

Original story, 5 p.m. Tuesday: The Virginia Senate killed a proposed two-year, $85-billion budget proposal on Tuesday after all 20 Democrats voted down the deal due to a lack fo funding for Metrorail's Silver Line Phase 2.

Democratic Sen. Charles Colgan (D-Prince William) had signed off on a compromise and had been expected to vote for the spending plan. He ended up siding with his party after no additional money for the extension of Metrorail to Dulles International Airport was included.

If a budget is not passed by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, there could be a partial government shutdown for the first time in Virginia history.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Republican-led House of Delegates approved the budget by a vote of 77-19.

Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston)

“The issue here is the lack of transportation funding in two different regions of the state," Howell said in a statement Wednesday. "Rail to Dulles will be an economic bonanza because of the jobs it will bring the Commonwealth. And yet some do not want to fund this project properly. The state has only contributed $200 million. Currently $150 million is pledged, but there are all sorts of rules attached to it. The state must make a substantial contribution to this vital project.”

To read more about the budget, read this story in The Washington Post.

Charlie April 18, 2012 at 12:04 PM
I think Sen. Janet Howell needs to learn a little more about economics before making these kinds of decisions. No business owner is going to spend $10 to make $1. She is working really hard at spending our tax dollars. If only she would work this hard at reducing them….. That would create more jobs for Northern Virginia. Charlie Rogers, Reston
David L. Danner April 18, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Kudos to Sen Howell and Sen Colgan. The entire Commonwealth benefits from the Northern Virginia economic engine. We send $ downstate, so shouldn't the rest of the Commonwealth participate in the costs that make this economic engine hum? Of course they should!
Thomas L. Cranmer April 18, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Hooray for the Senate Dems. They'll kill Dulles Rail Phase 2 that would be a huge drag on the economy of NVA if it proceeded. They'll shut down the VA government and that would be a huge savings for VA taxpayers!
The BSD Guy April 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Dulles rail is a By the Developers, For the Developers project and it always has been. The fact that the Democrats are so staunchly behind it and their very, very special interest, The Developers, just illustrates that the Democratic party is headed in the exact same direction that the national Republican party has already adopted - They could care less about the American people and simply see themselves are subservients to their special interest overlords. Wasn't it Gerry Connolly(Democrat) that used to be called the $199 man because he was taking so many unregistered donations (less than $200) from developers? Isn't it Connolly that's going to FIGHT for the rights of developers to have much broader land seizure properties using eminent domain? Wasn't it Moran (D) that stated we ought to allow illegals to work here for less money, basically because developers would like to use non-union, low cost, illegals to optimize their personal profits. Hasn't Howell been financed by developers for 20 years? Ahhhh, yes....what a bunch of humanitarians. What we are witnessing in this country is NOT the death of Democracy, we're witnessing the death of something that should have never existed in the first place: A two party system.
Stella McEnearny April 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Yes, that would create more jobs for perhaps a few wealthy business owners in Northern Virginia, but we all know how effective trickle-down economics is...! She's got the correct perspective for the majority of Virginians...just not for a wealthy few.
Bob Bruhns April 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Well what do you know, the Virginia budget passed with no extra $300 million for Dulles Rail. Yay!!! But look out for the tantrum - it's coming.
John Farrell April 19, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Tom Rust, Barbara Comstock, Jim LeMunyon, Dave Albo and Tim Hugo all vote for $13.50 daily tolls on the DTR. I'm sure their constituents will be pleased.
Anoneemous April 19, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Our governor and responsible members in the House and Senate are not gong to let liberals turn Virginia in to a welfare state that spends more than it can collect from taxpayers. Congratulations to the Virginia's legal residents that are not going to let northern Virginia liberals screw up a really good state.
Rob Whitfield April 19, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Only $200 million from Virginia? Former Governor, now US Senate candidate, Tim Kaine gave away a valuable state asset, the Dulles Toll Road, for which public partnership offers of over $1 billion were made in 2005 for 50 year operating rights. Worse, the Kaine plan has saddled us with MWAA, an unelected, unaccountable body, whose Board is comprised mainly of appointees from DC, Maryland and US government and whose priority has been to serve the needs of businesses and residents inside the Capital Beltway rather than the Dulles Corridor and around Dulles Airport. Delegate Ken Plum is Chairman of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association, which has received $$ millions from landowners, their lawyers and allies over the last 14 years. Their Executive Director, Patti Nicoson, has served in multiple roles including heading the Reston Master Plan Task Force. Plum, Howell, Nicoson and others have promoted rail without ever asking that the feasibility of the project be determined. That's because the leader of their "pack," Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, also Chairs the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority. WMATA faces huge capital replacement costs -some $13.3 billion - and hopes to suck $$ billions out of Dulles Toll road users and taxpayers to expand their empire. On Tuesday night, Hudgins and WMATA staff appeared before the Loudoun County Board. They could not (would not?) provide answers to basic questions such as projected rail ridership, fares and operating costs.
Steve L April 19, 2012 at 03:28 PM
FML
Bob Bruhns April 19, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Now it's up to MWAA not to contract the work at two times what it should cost. Maybe the US DOT FINANCIAL audit that has been under way since mid March will help. What financial audit, you ask? Yeah, I know, it's been kept out of the news. Here are the links to the announcement on the dot.gov website: Audit Initiated of Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project March 15, 2012 Project ID: 12M3001M00 http://www.oig.dot.gov/library-item/5747 Full PDF Document: http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/files/Dulles%20Phase%202%20Announcement%20Letter%5E3-19-12.pdf
Rob Jackson April 19, 2012 at 09:20 PM
In 2007, the Federal Transit Administration's report on the New Starts program estimated the Silver Line would have 16,000 new transit passengers by 2030. The agency does not consider people who used to ride the bus or any other transit and now ride rail as new passengers, but only those who get out of their cars. If rail is completed in 2014, that's only an average of 1000 new transit users each year. A very interesting statistic.

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