Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks with reporters during Thursday news conference in Richmond

Gov. Bob McDonnell speaks with reporters during Thursday news conference in Richmond

The House of Delegates and the State Senate passed competing budget amendments Thursday, as Democrats and Republicans sparred over transportation funding.

The Senate worked quickly, approving its spending plan on a vote of 37 to three.
The House took several hours more, as Democrats argued that Governor Bob McDonnell's transportation package will finance major road improvements at the expense of public education, and other critical state services.
 
"Those roads would help," said House Minority Leader and Martinsville Delegate Ward Armstrong. "No you can't take funding for schools, for mental health for police in order to do it."

"This budget does not cut kids," countered House Majority Leader and Colonial Heights Delegate Kirk Cox. "It funds K-12 adequately.  There's money for higher ed... We had to make choices and I think we made a lot of very, very good choices."
 
Later, Governor McDonnell described the Democrats' criticism as "a political excuse for not supporting the biggest investment in transportation in 20 years."
 
The House finally passed its version on a vote of 69 to 28.
Both the House and Senate endorsed the use of bonds to raise four billion dollars for transportation, but major differences remain, including funding for public education.