February 17, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - In a state Capitol more riven by partisanship with every passing year, some of the deepest rifts are over place, not party.
Consider a spat between urban and rural lawmakers that erupted this past week involving the longest stretch of highway in Virginia: the nearly 520-mile-long U.S. 58.
Del. Charles Poindexter from Glade Hill in Franklin County engaged the regional rift when he sought the Senate Finance Committee's blessing for funding to widen and modernize a mountainous stretch of the highway.
Poindexter says U.S. 58 could become a major four-lane commercial artery.
But, try explaining to legislators in gridlocked northern Virginia traffic why a 20-mile bottleneck on U.S. 58 in southwestern Virginia matters.
Ultimately, Poindexter's request won the committee's approval and Senate passage. But the funding is tied to passage of this year's transportation funding reform legislation.