Richmond, Va, 5 FEBRuary 2013: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement regarding today’s Senate action on Senate Bill 1355:
“Today, every member of the Senate Republican Caucus voted for a transportation funding plan that would improve our roads and railways and provide relief for Virginia’s most congested regions. Also today, not a single member of the Senate Democrat Caucus voted for, or offered, a transportation plan.
“As the Lieutenant Governor is prohibited from voting on revenue bills, the Senate Democrats have the ability to block any transportation plan. Today, they did.
“As was the case with the obstructionist tactics employed by Senate Democrats over the budget last year, our colleagues across the aisle have chosen political posturing over positive policy solutions. Since the Minority Leader telegraphed his Caucus’s opposition to the Governor’s transportation plan from the day it was introduced, today’s result is not surprising. That does not make their intransigence any less disappointing and disheartening.
“There are many who deserve commendation for their work on this issue to date. Senator Watkins accelerated this discussion by offering his detailed proposal last year. Governor McDonnell demonstrated his leadership by crafting and unveiling an innovative proposal before session began. Senator Newman deserves accolades for shepherding the Governor’s proposal through the Transportation Committee and for working so diligently on the floor substitute he offered today. Senator Stosch and the Republican members of the Finance Committee deserve credit for keeping the discussion going by advancing the Governor’s plan. And, Senator Wagner should be lauded for the passion he showed in crafting his own floor substitute.
“Throughout this entire process, Republican Senators have advanced legislation in Committees, crafted proposals, worked with colleagues to build consensus, and stood up to vote for transportation initiatives. Senate Democrats have been absent throughout the process, and that has been by their choice. Their votes today put an exclamation point on their position regarding transportation: they have no plan other than to say ‘no’ to every plan presented.
“In the weeks ahead, we will continue to work for a resolution on this issue. We look forward to considering House Bill 2313 as it makes its way through the Senate. While I will continue to remain optimistic, the reality is that if the Democrats continue to employ intransigence as their only strategy, the ultimate result will be the same.
“The people of Virginia deserve better.”