Republicans in the Virginia House proposed a $938 million
transportation package Tuesday, Jan. 4, to direct some money from the state’s
general operating fund and some from the state tax on insurance premiums to the
The proposal exceeds the $824 million initiative Gov. Mark
Warner submitted last month but shares many characteristics of the governor’s
According to The Associated Press, $256 million in
the initiative is reserved for retiring deficits on completed road projects.
Other provisions in the plan include $75 million that localities can leverage
to ease highway congestion problems, $33 million for rail improvements, $40
million for mass transit capital projects and $60 million for public-private
The House GOP plan would repay $90 million extracted from
the Transportation Trust Fund in recent years of fiscal crisis to balance the
state’s general fund budget.
The GOP transportation package joins Warner’s as the second
of three competing transportation packages likely to dominate the 2005
legislative session. A Senate package expected later this month is likely to
differ from the House plan by avoiding the use of general fund money.
Warner’s plan and the House plan are alike in that neither
proposes additional taxes. They vary in that the governor’s plan is a massive
one-time cash infusion while more than half of the House plan – $552 million – would be pledged for transportation years into the future.
Over the course of the state’s six-year transportation plan,
the House initiative would provide an additional $1.8 billion, The AP reported.
Both plans rely in part on an expected surplus known to exceed