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Gov. McDonnell Mum on Transportation Plan, Budget Cuts

December 6, 2012

Governor Bob McDonnell says he has a new transportation plan to help fix Virginia's deteriorating and overcrowded roads.

However, the plan could include a hike in gas taxes or more tolls.

McDonnell says for years the state has been forced to dip into construction money for road maintenance.

"We have squeezed every dollar we can. We have reformed VDOT. We've audited VDOT. We've used bonds. We've done everything that I'm able to do right now and it's not enough to solve the problem. So it's a safety problem and it's a quality of life problem for the people of Virginia."

McDonnell says he will have a proposal in the coming session of the general assembly.

He says the organization needs at least $500 million to stop the bleeding and tackle the transportation funding issue for good.

McDonnell also spoke vaguely about the tens of millions of dollars he will propose in state budget cuts, and how the "fiscal cliff" could affect state funding.

He says some of the $130 million in state agency cuts recommended to him last week will appear in his amended budget.

McDonnell told journalists attending the 11th annual AP Day at the Capitol that he feels he has to include some of the suggestions state agency chiefs submitted for paring their own spending by 4 percent because less federal money is coming to Virginia.

The third-year governor said his budgeting has to be conservative and austere because even if the deep, automatic cuts to military and domestic spending are avoided before January, Virginia will be disproportionately affected by reduced federal support.

He says he won't approve many suggestions to cut aid to local governments.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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