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McDonnell's Transportation Bill Takes Step

The Virginia House and Senate will have to come together on a comprehensive package quickly.

A Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday passed a transportation plan for Virginia that varied from Gov. McDonnell's proposed transportation funding proposal.

“This morning, another step was taken towards passage of a comprehensive long-term transportation funding plan for the Commonwealth," Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

"It is imperative that we find a solution now to solve the Commonwealth’s growing transportation needs. We are on the brink of getting such a plan passed. Now, both chambers and both parties need to come together to craft a final plan that can pass both the House and Senate, and that I will sign. That plan must be fiscally responsible and balanced."

The plan (which was not itself a bill but does move the ball forward) passed on a 9 - 6 vote with bipartisan support. Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) is on the Senate Finance Committee.

In an email to Patch, Sen. Howell said she voted in favor of the bill, along with all Senate democrats on the Finance Committee.

"The bill has a combination of revenue increases that apply statewide as well as locally," she wrote. She also noted that the $300 million included for Phase 2 of the Metrorail Silver Line was an important consideration.

The Senate Finance Committee plan differs from Gov. McDonnell's proposal in key ways—it raises the gas tax instead of eliminating it, for example.

Gov. McDonnell was in Fairfax County Monday drumming up support for his transportation plan.

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