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PW senators split along party lines as state Senate passes transportation bill

The three Democrats representing Prince William County in the state Senate voted with the majority for the transportation conference committee report Saturday, clearing the final hurdle before Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) can sign the bill into law. Prince William's two Republican state senators voted against it.

PW senators split along party lines as state Senate passes transportation bill

The three Democrats representing Prince William County in the state Senate voted with the majority for the transportation conference committee report Saturday, clearing the final hurdle before Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) can sign the bill into law.
McDonnell's GOP allies who represent Prince William balked at the legislation, however, as state Sens. Dick Black (R-13th) and Richard Stuart (R-28th) voted against it, as did 10 other Republicans. Eight Republicans voted for the bill.
State Sens. Chuck Colgan (D-29th), Toddy Puller (D-36th) and George Barker (D-39th) joined 14 other Democrats in supporting the bill. Only three Democrats in the evenly-divided chamber voted against it.
The bill passed by a 25 to 15 margin.
Today marks the last day of the General Assembly's regular session. The legislature is expected to pass a budget today too before it adjourns.
Yesterday, the House of Delegates passed the same bill. It will cut the state's gas tax while raising other taxes, including the sales tax.
Localities in Northern Virginia will also be able to adopt higher sales taxes with money going directly to transportation projects in the local area.
Four highway items in the bill are marked specifically for Prince William County.
It sets aside $13.4 million for widening Route 28 to six lanes in the western part of the county; $10 million for the proposed bi-county parkway connecting Prince William and Loudoun; $2.18 million to pave dirt and gravel secondary roads; and $10 million for a interchange improvements at the intersection of the Route 234 bypass and and Prince William County Parkway.
"As a result of this plan, thousands of construction and maintenance projects around the state will be funded, from widening I-64 between Newport News and Williamsburg, widening Route 28 in Northern Virginia, bringing down tolls on the Dulles Toll Road and advancing the Silver Line, bringing Amtrak service to Roanoke, and helping to build the Coalfields Expressway in Southwest Virginia," said McDonnell in a statement.
"Thousands of new jobs will be created," he added. "Before this vote it was projected that by the year 2018 we would have been transferring $500 million meant for construction to just fund simple maintenance projects. There would have been virtually no new money available for new construction projects. Now, this problem has been solved for the foreseeable future."
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