It was undoubtedly the most important day in the four years of Bob McDonnell's governorship and it was arguably the most significant legislative session day in maybe two decades.
As evidenced by this quickly becoming viral picture from the governor's office moments after the vote came down:
(Governor McDonnell watches the vote come in with Director of Communications Tucker Martin and Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Conrad. Photo from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's Chief of Staff Randy Marcus' twitter feed)
The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate came together to pass bi-partisan reform of the mechanism to fund transportation in the state and agreed to taking the first step to expanding the state's Medicaid system in concert with the Federal Affordable Care Act.
Those two major accomplishments were fraught with controversy and few people expected either of them to get done at the beginning of session 45 days ago.
The political chattering class is still digesting this historic day, but one stark reaction from the editorial pages of Virginia's papers is plenty of credit given to both sides for being able to get something done. Especially because of Washington's inability to accomplish anything in quite some time.
Here is a rundown of the reaction:
IN VIRGINIA, A REPUBLICAN governor and a GOP-dominated legislature have joined forces with Democrats to enact the first long-term increase in transportation funding since the Reagan administration — and the state’s biggest tax increase in nearly a decade. That is a signal achievement, and one that will stamp Robert F. McDonnell’s governorship as a long-term success.
By generating a minimum of $880 million annually for roads, rails and bridges, the state’s lawmakers rescued a buckling infrastructure network, laid the groundwork for future prosperity and bucked the pernicious influence of anti-tax ideologues who delayed a deal for years by insisting that highways could magically be built without new revenue.
It took Richmond 27 years to devise a new funding system for its transportation network. The plan that emerged isn’t perfect — it may be too small and might have to be revisited after a decade or two. But for now, Virginia’s most critical problem, relegated to the back burner since 1986, finally has a solution.
With this legislation, Virginia should finally have the roads, bridges and rail lines that it needs to keep its people, businesses and economy moving.
McDonnell can rightfully claim credit for a landmark deal that secures Virginia's transportation future for the next generation.
And a majority of lawmakers, led by Jones and Wagner, have proven themselves capable of casting aside politics in favor of pragmatic public service.
Jeff Schaprio, The Richmond-Times Dispatch:
Bob McDonnell finally got his legacy. To do so required breaking with fellow Republicans on two issues that propelled him to the governorship and were articles of faith within the GOP: resistance to new taxes and Obamacare.
Meanwhile this is how the story played out on television. NBC12's Mike Valerio was there as the historic vote went down and did a nice job of breaking down how this landmark change will impact the average person.
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -
A grand compromise in the Virginia House and Senate ended the threat of I-95 tolls but raised the Commonwealth's sales tax, in an effort to fund nearly $1 billion for road repairs and construction.
In a 25-15 vote, the Senate paved the way for Virginia's first long-term transportation plan in 27 years. The vote Saturday wrapped up the 2013 session of the General Assembly, and sent a plan to Governor Bob McDonnell that both cuts and raises taxes.
The transportation plan eliminates Virginia's gas tax paid by consumers, and raises the Commonwealth's sales tax. Shoppers in Central Virginia will now pay a 5.3 percent sales tax, up from 5 percent. To put the tax in perspective, consumers purchasing a new $199 iPhone will now pay 60 cents more.
Local Senator Don McEachin says a slight boost in taxes is better than any boost in traffic.
"I think if anybody has travelled I-95 South, and gotten to Fredericksburg, and noticed you're still backed up all the way into Richmond, that's problem number one," says Senator McEachin.
Gas stations will now pay a 3.5 percent tax on the amount of gasoline purchased from refineries. Sellers of diesel fuel will also have to pay a 6 percent tax, a rate that will rise with inflation.
"If you want finger pointing, and blame... and no results, go to Washington," McDonnell said at a news conference Saturday. " If you want to see people who work together and get things done in a short amount of time... come to Richmond."
read and see the full story on NBC12.com.