Senate Adjourns Without Voting on Highways Bill

The Virginia Senate adjourned abruptly without a vote on a historic $880 million-a-year transportation reform bill that passed easily in the House.

The Senate called it quits after languishing in recess most of the afternoon as Senate Democrats awaited written assurance from Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell that he will allow for Medicaid expansion.

Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin said that without the guarantee, the Senate's 20 Democrats would oppose the measure in the 40-seat Senate, dooming its passage.

The House passed it 60-40 earlier Friday.

The transportation bill is the centerpiece of McDonnell's 2013 policy agenda and his last, best shot at a legislative legacy.

It would reduce the state gas tax but hike the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent. Car titling fees would go up, and owners of hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles would pay a $100 annual fee.

Traffic choked northern Virginia and Hampton Roads would be able to raise even more money by hiking several taxes and fees. That money would stay in those regions. For northern Virginia, that's another $345 million each year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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