It was one step forward for oil exploration advocates on Monday.
The Virginia Senate approved a plan to use funding from offshore drilling to help offset the cost of repairing roads and other transportation needs in the commonwealth.
It wasn’t a landslide victory by any means. The bill passed by a vote of 21 to 19.
The legislation now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell to sign -- a sure bet, since he campaigned on offshore drilling.
The new governor even made oil a focus in his inauguration address. Last month, McDonnell, pledged to make Virginia the "energy capital of the East Coast".
A federal ban on offshore drilling expired more than a year ago. That doesn’t give Virginia a green light just yet. It still needs the president’s approval to be legal once again.
Lawmakers, including Democratic senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, are pushing the White House to start selling leases for drilling, starting in 2011.
Even if the answer is “yes,” it could take awhile for Virginia to see the money.