WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News

McDonnell to Focus on Transportation in GA Session

January 9, 2011

Gov. Bob McDonnell has a list of priorities he wants to get done, as lawmakers prepare for the next session of the General Assembly to begin Wednesday. His biggest priority is transportation, and he has more than $900 million in the bank to do it.

"There's not enough money being dispersed in the right directions," Albemarle County resident Joshua Cummings said.

With three years left in his term, the Republican governor has a short list of what he wants to accomplish. Among the items is borrowing $3 billion over the next three years for transportation, in addition to another $400 million to fix ailing roads.

Transportation was also one of McDonnell's focuses in his first year in office. After last winter's record snowfall, the state cleared the roads of more than 150,000 potholes.

Potholes aren't the only transportation troubles for Virginians. Some locals want to see more money go toward public transportation.

"Without public transportation, its just going to cause deterioration of our bridges, our roadways," Charlottesville resident Diane Gagliano said.

McDonnell also proposes spending $58 million dollars to improve higher education in the commonwealth.

"We definitely need far more opportunities for higher education," Gagliano said.

"We're falling behind [in education]," Cummings said.

Job creation is another goal of McDonnell's, putting $54 million toward bringing jobs to Virginia. The governor has many funds to help him get it done.

With a budget surplus of $403 million, tax revenues of $337 million and $192 million in state savings, the commonwealth has $932 million in the bank.

The Republicans run the House and the Democrats control the Senate. If the groups don't come to a consensus with the governor, there could be a long road ahead.

Altogether, McDonnell plans on bringing up 130 measures to the General Assembly this session.

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