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Special Session Begins Monday

Anita Kumar

Days before the General Assembly returns to Richmond for a special session on transportation Monday, many legislators still say they have little or no hope of reaching an agreement on how to fund road and transit projects.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) will address the Democratic caucuses of the House and Senate Sunday night and Monday morning and then the entire 140-member General Assembly at 1 p.m. to encourage them to pass a bill.

Republicans, and even many Democrats, are skeptical.

Legislators have engaged in one-on-one discussions in person and by telephone since March, but leaders of the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and Democrat-controlled Senate say there has been little movement toward compromise.

Before the session officially kicks off at the state Capitol at noon, the Virginia Business Council will appear with Kaine at 10 a.m. to support him in his effort to get something passed during the special session.

In May, Kaine proposed raising $1.1 billion a year by increasing taxes statewide on car and home sales and vehicle registration fees. His plan includes a 1 cent sales tax increase in the state's most congested areas, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

Democrats and some Senate Republicans want to boost taxes statewide, but they disagree on whether to increase the gas tax, sales tax or other revenue sources. House Republican leaders oppose a statewide tax increase and want to encourage public-private partnerships, in which companies would pay for some projects on roads and bridges in return for the right to collect tolls.

By Anita Kumar  |  June 20, 2008; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2008 , Timothy M. Kaine , Transportation  
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I guarantee that the House of Delegats will block any and all efforts to raise new state-wide revenue for transportation. They will also offer no alternatives.

My God, I hope they get their rear-ends handed to them next November. It is a shame that all of the moderate and sensible Republicans, with whom I agree on almost everything, have either retired or have lost primaries to crazy right-wingers.

Posted by: Ind Voter | June 20, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

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