Manassas Park Senator Changes Mind, VA. Budget Approved

Democrat Colgan changes his vote, and two-year, $85-billion budget is approved

Manassas Park's senator changed his mind and voted for the budget Wednesday afternoon, enabling the two-year, $85-billion budget to pass 21-19.

Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William, Manassas Park, Manassas) told The Washington Post he had a change of heart on the plan he had coted voted against on Tuesday.

While Colgan and other Senate Democrats had been pushing Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) for $300 million to extend Metrorail to Dulles International Airport, Colgan said the governor had not come through with funding, The Post reported. Colgan said he had simply come to the conclusion that the need to pass a state budget outweighed the need to secure funding for the project.

Virginia had been preparing for a potential shutdown in May if a budget was not passed. 

The House passed the budget earlier in the week. The budget now goes to McDonnell.

Original story, 5 p.m. Tuesday: The Virginia Senate killed a proposed two-year, $85-billion budget proposal on Tuesday after all 20 Democrats voted down the deal due to a lack fo funding for Metrorail's Silver Line Phase 2.

Democratic Sen. Charles Colgan (D-Prince William) had signed off on a compromise and had been expected to vote for the spending plan. He ended up siding with his party after no additional money for the extension of Metrorail to Dulles International Airport was included.

If a budget is not passed by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, there could be a partial government shutdown for the first time in Virginia history.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Republican-led House of Delegates approved the budget by a vote of 77-19.

Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston)

“The issue here is the lack of transportation funding in two different regions of the state," Howell said in a statement Wednesday. "Rail to Dulles will be an economic bonanza because of the jobs it will bring the Commonwealth. And yet some do not want to fund this project properly. The state has only contributed $200 million. Currently $150 million is pledged, but there are all sorts of rules attached to it. The state must make a substantial contribution to this vital project.”

To read more about the budget, read this story in The Washington Post.


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