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Tuesday, May 14, 2013    

Virginia governor signs 'historic' transportation funding bill

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed the state's "Road to the Future" transportation bill, the first comprehensive transportation funding measure approved in 27 years, the governor's office announced yesterday.

The legislation will provide more than $3.4 billion in additional statewide transportation funding, more than $1.5 billion in additional funding for northern Virginia and more than $1 billion in additional funding for Hampton Roads — over the next five years alone, McDonnell said in a press release.

"Not only will this legislation address both the short- and long-term funding needs of our transportation system, it will also annually sustain 13,058 new jobs, have more than $9.5 billion in economic impact and improve Virginians' quality of life," the governor said.

During the next five years, the legislation also will increase funding for Virginia's transit providers by $509 million and provide more than $256 million in funding for intercity passenger rail, the first dedicated state funding for the service, state officials said.

The legislation includes three fundamental changes in how the state pays for transportation: it reduces or eliminates state dependence on the gas tax in the coming years; calls for tying future transportation funding to the sales tax; and treats transportation "like the true core function of government that it is, one essential to economic growth and job creation," McDonnell said.

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