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Transportation Funding: Senate Committee Passes Amended Proposal

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

A Senate Finance Committee passed a transportation plan for Virginia on Tuesday that which hinges on eliminating the state's gas tax in favor of a larger sales tax.

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. (See the summary of the HB 2313 substitute in the media box at right for additional details.)

The plan (which was not itself a bill but does move the discussions forward) passed on a 9 - 6 vote with bipartisan support. 

Sen. Janet Howell, who represents parts of Vienna, Tysons Corner and McLean, along with Reston and surrounding areas, 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. 

Gov. McDonnell was in Fairfax County on Monday drumming up support for his transportation plan, touting the $300 million other officials said could drop Dulles Toll Road rates by about $0.50. 

"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," Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

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