Governor offers changes to state transportation plan

Posted at 8:55 AM, Mar 26, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has offered 52 amendments to bills passed in the General Assembly this past session. The General Assembly will vote on them in a special session on April 3.

Several focus on the historictransportation funding plan including

  • Reducing fee for hybrid driver from $100 to $64
  • Reducing car-titling tax increase from 4.3 percent to 4.15 percent

Part of the 52 amendments would reduce the revenue raised from McDonnell's original transportation plan by $300 million, according to the governor's office.

McDonnell said on Tuesday that he wanted to "enact a long-term, sustainable transportation funding solution that will resolve our challenges for the next generation."

Some in the Republican party had criticized Gov. McDonnell for raising taxes in order to fund state transportation projects.

While on his monthly "Ask the Governor" radio segment in Washington, McDonnell said the taxes would be minimal, between $20 and $100 for most folks.

Last week, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said part of the state’s landmark transportation legislation compromise, which includes Medicaid expansion, was unconstitutional.

"We don't ask for his (Cuccinelli's) permission," McDonnell said Tuesday.  "We ask for his advice.  We've taken his advice on this and many bills, and we've gotten our own analysis."

Click here to read the budget letter submitted by Gov. McDonnell.

Several of the amendments offered by Governor McDonnell addressed Cuccinelli's concerns however.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told CBS 6 regarding transportation, "Based on our preliminary review, the governor's amendments address the constitutional concerns we have raised."

However the Attorney General remains skeptical about the constitutionality of a  commission established that would ensure reforms are made before Medicaid can be expanded in Virginia.

This commission was a key component in getting enough Democrats on board to vote for transportation reform last session.

The amendments offered make the commission's rule more ministerial in nature with the amendments outlining specific items the commission must do.

"Regarding Medicaid, it remains our office's view that leaving the final decision regarding Medicaid expansion to a subset of the members of the General Assembly raises constitutional concerns," Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for Cuccinelli, said.

Other amendments offered include filling eleven vacancies of judge positions in Virginia, including one in Richmond as well as creating a new judge position in Hanover and Caroline Counties.