Gov. McDonnell to unveil highway funding reforms today

Gov. McDonnell to unveil highway funding reforms today

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Gov. McDonnell to unveil highway funding reforms today

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Associated Press & 13News

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 8 at 5:02 PM

RICHMOND (AP) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell plans to unveil his long-promised transportation funding reform package in Richmond less than a day before state lawmakers convene for their 2013 session.

McDonnell has a 3:30 p.m. news conference to outline what aides say is a sweeping package that was still a work in progress late last week.

The governor, entering the fourth and final year of the single, non-renewable term Virginia uniquely allows its governors, has kept details of the program closely limited to a handful of top aides and advisers.

The only financial portion of the program he has discussed publicly would shift about $48 million from the General Fund by designating a sliver of the state sales tax for transportation use.

Last month, the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club urged McDonnell to adopt "21st Century transportation policies" and work more cooperatively with local governments.

"(He) should cease pursuit of the unneeded, environmentally destructive, and now outrageously expensive Route 460 Project and instead invest the almost $1.2 billion in state funds in projects that will truly help Hampton Roads meet their transportation needs including, improving safety on the existing Route 460, keeping tolls down on the Midtown, Downtown Tunnel Project, moving forward with expansion of the highly successful Tide Light Rail and moving forward on the Patriots Crossing with a high capacity transit component,” said spokesman Roger Diedrich, the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter transportation chairman.

Del. Chris Stolle (R-83rd D./Va. Beach) and other Beach lawmakers announced their efforts to let voters decide whether to pass a 1% local sales tax hike that would pay for transportation needs in Hampton Roads alone.

AP-WF-01-08-13 0816GMT

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