Update: VA Senate Adjourns Without Voting on Transportation Bill

Update 5:45 p.m.:

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Senate has abruptly adjourned, delaying revisions to the state budget and a decisive vote on a major transportation reform bill the House already passed until Saturday, the final day of the 2013 General Assembly.

Senators had languished in recess most of Friday afternoon awaiting written assurances from Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell not to block Medicaid expansion.

The Senate's 20 Democrats had demanded the guarantee in exchange for their support required to pass the transportation bill in the 40-seat Senate.

The $880 million-a-year transportation bill is the centerpiece of McDonnell's policy agenda and his last, best chance at a legacy. It needs support from the Senate's 20 Democrats to assure passage.

Medicaid expansion was also the remaining obstacle to a compromise on the budget.


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia's House of Delegates has voted to approve what would become the first major reform in a generation of the state's system for financing its highway network.

Friday's vote was 60-40.

If the Senate follows suit, that puts the legislation in front of Gov. Bob McDonnell, who put transportation at the forefront of his policy agenda and has staked his legacy on its passage.

The bill replaces Virginia's 17 1/2 cents-per-gallon retail gasoline tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline and a 6 percent levy on diesel fuel.

It also boosts statewide sales taxes from 5 percent to 5.3 percent and uses more of the existing sales tax, increases the titling tax on car sales and adds a $100 fee to the purchase of fuel-sipping hybrid vehicles.