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With GOP split, Dems hold cards on roads bill fate

Thursday - 2/21/2013, 7:51pm  ET

AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - With House and Senate Republicans split over a transportation compromise, Democrats may determine whether the first major reforms to Virginia's highway financing system in 27 years.

Decisive floor votes are scheduled for Friday on an agreement by five senators and five delegates that would use a blend of gasoline and sales taxes to generate an additional $880 million a year for upkeep and repairs to Virginia's 58,000 miles of roads.

House and Senate Republican conservatives and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli oppose what they consider a massive tax increase, differing with GOP leadership in both chambers.

But Democrats aren't sold either, complaining about diversions from the general fund and hoping to barter their support for Republican backing on Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Bob McDonnell offered tepid support for the measure.

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