Sen. George Barker: Transportation Bill Made 2013 General Assembly Session a Success
Barker spoke to Democrats at the Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield on Wednesday.
Virginia Sen. George Barker (D-39th) says that the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session was a success, due in large part to the passage of a transportation bill that will bring $800 million in annual revenue to the Commonwealth.
“The transportation bill will provide tremendous revenues to help us move forward long-term,” said Barker, who spoke 85 Democrats at the Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield on Wednesday morning.
House Bill 2313 will generate $880 million in new revenue for state roadway projects. Fairfax County, under the transportation bill, will see $47.6 million annually and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will receive $111 million from increased taxes. The bill also guarantees $300 million for three years to help fund Phase II of the Silver Line project in Tysons.
Barker said that the General Assembly was motivated to compromise on the transportation bill due to the Commonwealth's losing the number one slot as CNBC's Top State For Business (Virginia is now third).
Barker also supported stricter laws regarding texting while driving. The General Assembly passed a measure that made texting behind the wheel a primary offense rather than a secondary offense. A police officer may stop you should it appear that you are texting while driving, and fines are $250 for a first offense and $500 for a second offense. And if caught, a driver can also be charged with reckless driving.
Barker is also a supporter of Medicaid expansion under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Expanding medicaid under the Act would provide $21 billion over seven years and health insurance for at least 400,000 of Virginia's uninsured, and the program would be fully funded by the Feds for the first three years and then decline to 90 percent in 2020.