February 25, 2013
The Virginia state Senate passed the first long-term reform for upkeep of Virginia's 58,000-mile network of highways in the final weekend of the General Assembly, and that vote has received praise from both sides of the aisle.
The reform is the first major change in 27 years. The bill, worth $880 million, replaces a retail gasoline tax with a wholesale tax. It also rules out proposed tolls on Interstate 95 south of Petersburg.
Democrats say it's a win for Virginians.
"We were able to enact a transportation plan that had broad bipartisanship support that raises substantial dollars for transportation," said Del. David Toscano (D-57th District).
Not only will roads benefit from the multi-million dollar reform, but local rail will also get more funding.
"A dedicated source of revenue for inner-city passenger rail has been passed and that will keep trains like the one out of Charlottesville to D.C. everyday operating," Toscano said.
Toscano went on to say that continual funding of rail brings more money to the state and creates 30,000 new jobs.
Along with the transportation funding came an expansion of Medicaid.
"Medicaid expansion makes a lot of sense not just for the 250,000 to 400,000 Virginians who will get additional health care coverage, but also in terms of the economics," Toscano said.
These two reforms came just before the 2013 General Assembly adjourned for the session on Saturday.