A souped-up rewrite of Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation bill won Senate passage without debate.
The 26-14 vote sends the drastically amended bill back to the House of Delegates where a two-thirds Republican majority is hostile to the Senate's bid to not only restore but increase the gasoline tax the original bill repealed. McDonnell also opposes the 17.5 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax.
The amended bill also adds a statewide 1 percent wholesale tax and an option for localities to levy an additional 1 percent.
With the House certain to reject the Senate amendment, that sets up high-level private talks by a select committee of senators and delegates with input from McDonnell's administration to see if a compromise between the widely different positions is possible.
Transportation reform is part of McDonnell's quest for a legislative legacy.