A tiny fraction of the proposed $274 million city budget amounts to a big deal for community groups that have been calling for reforms in the local criminal justice system.
The road to funding improvements on I-81 took another twist Wednesday, with the General Assembly voting to increase truck registration fees and impose new fuel taxes along the I-81 corridor.
State Sen. Mark Obenshain went out on a limb with a bill to begin tolling on I-81 to pay for $2.2 billion in much-needed improvements to the interstate . Things didn’t work like he’d hoped, however.
“I’m deeply disappointed,” Obenshain said. “We had a commitment to a process last year, and, frankly, I did a pretty uncomfortable thing of taking the result of that process and carrying that legislation.”
Despite a legislative session that The Washington Post described as “the strangest … in anyone’s memory” amid a trio of scandals in Virginia’s executive branch, Harrisonburg’s state Del. Tony Wilt said it ended up being a “very successful legislative year.”
Committees in both chambers of the General Assembly on Thursday approved revised versions of bills by Valley legislators that outline $2.2 billion in needed improvements to I-81 but now no longer explain how to pay for them. The new legislation, which Sen. Mark Obenshain called a “pale shadow of its former self,” was meant to keep I-81 in the foreground of public discussions amid continued disagreement over funding methods.