In the early days of the legislative session that recently ended, I held a town hall where I was asked what I thought the chances were of making real progress on transportation, arguably the biggest issue facing Virginia. I answered honestly that it was unlikely that we would see big changes, given the political dynamics, including this year’s House of Delegates and Statewide elections. We, however, far exceeded my expectations.
HB 2313, which passed with strong bipartisan support, dramatically changes and increases our investment in transportation. Within a couple of years, we will have transportation funding increases of about $1.4 billion per year, including a large permanent increase dedicated to Northern Virginia.
If we haven’t “fixed” transportation, we certainly took a huge step in that direction with the first major long-term increase in transportation funding in 27 years, when a 1986 special session made a similar major investment.
In the days since the 2013 Legislative session closed, I have heard from some constituents expressing concern over one or more elements of the landmark transportation package that was approved last week. I understand, and in some cases agree with, criticism of individual components of the bill that we passed, but I am proud that substantial majorities in both the House of Delegates and the Senate put aside partisanship and objections to some parts of the bill to embrace a compromise that is good for Virginians, our businesses, and our economy.This is an enormous step forward for the Commonwealth and for Northern Virginia.