Morning Read: Will McDonnell Make a Last-Minute Change to the Transportation Bill?

Ever since Gov. Bob McDonnell threw his support behind a transportation bill that raises taxes, the Republican governor has been blasted by many within his own party for breaking with conservative tax values.

The massive transportation funding legislation passed through both chambers in the assembly, but will only be final once Gov. McDonnell signs it into law.

In Virginia, the governor is allowed to rewrite legislation after passage, then send it back to the legislature for a new vote.

Will Gov. McDonnell buckle under pressure and make an 11th-hour change to the legislation, or will he sign it as is?

The Washington Post Editorial Board urged McDonnell to do that latter:

First, there is a real risk that a major rewrite of the bill would shatter the fragile bipartisan coalition that backed it in the General Assembly. Stripping the legislation of the extra funds for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads would likely prompt many, if not most, lawmakers from those regions to withdraw their support. Having pushed hard to fix a transportation funding mess that was a quarter-century in the making, Mr. McDonnell is better off with the legislation as passed than with nothing.

Second, the money is desperately needed. For more than a decade, Virginia has tried repeatedly to find new streams of money for roads, only to fail spectacularly year after year.

McDonnell said last week he is still reviewing the legislation and has not yet decided if he will offer any amendments. He has 30 days from the end of the legislative session, which concluded on Feb 23, to amend or veto any bills.


* The big news of Tuesday was Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s announcement that he would not be running for Virginia governor as an independent. (AP)

* Will Gov. O’Malley’s proposal to raise the unpopular gas tax hurt him in the 2016 primaries? (BuzzFeed)

* On the same note, is O’Malley gambling his future on the death penalty abolition? (The Atlantic)

* In the second round of campaign finance reports for the D.C. At-Large Council race, Patrick Mara is the winner, having raised $54,165 in the latest filing period. (News4)

* Arlington County proposed doubling the vending hours for food trucks, which would allow vehicles to sell food for two hours -- not including the time they'd need to set up and break down their mobile kitchens. (Washington Post)

* In the District, the food truck regulations are finally headed to the Council after four rounds of revisions. As it stands, the legislation would leave a lot of important details up to government agencies. (Washington Examiner)

* After 13 were injured in a drive-by shooting early Monday, D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells says he'll do his best to remove the big nightclubs around N. Capitol Street. (WTOP)

* In his second Senate floor speech, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine urged senators to support the second spending bill released by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday night. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

* The Maryland House Appropriations Committee cut Gov. O’Malley’s $37 billion budget by $420 million. Overall, the budget's still more than $1.25 billion bigger than last year’s. (Maryland Reporter)

* Mayor Vincent Gray’s task force on affordable housing released its report Tuesday, and its key recommendation was for the District to increase its commitment to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. (Washington Post)

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