Spokesperson: Speaker Cox to allow vote on Gov.’s I-81 amendments


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- After reviewing amendments to legislation on Interstate 81, a spokesperson for the Virginia Speaker of the House says he would allow a vote on the Governor’s amendments when lawmakers return on Wednesday.

Governor Ralph Northam has proposed 15 pages of amendments to two bills, SB 1716 and HB 2718, that passed the General Assembly this year and gave $151 million towards roadway projects. 

Currently, there is no dedicated funding source for the roughly 325 mile stretch of I-81 in Virginia. Transportation officials say these amendments would create a number of ways to pay for $2 billion worth of roadway improvements.

Among the proposals is a 2.1 percent tax increase for gas sold in the region with the corridor as well as increased registration fees for trucks, which is calculated by how much the vehicle weighs. 

There was initially a question of whether the Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-District 66) would allow a vote on these amendments because they might not be closely connected enough to the original bills. 

In a statement, the Speaker’s Communications Director Parker Slaybaugh said, “If the question were raised, the Speaker would rule the amendments offered germane and in order. The original bill included several provisions for funding improvements to Interstate 81 and the governor’s amendments are consistent with that original purpose.” 

On Wednesday, lawmakers will reconvene at the capitol to vote on the rest of the Governor’s amendments and legislation he vetoed. So far, Gov. Northam has vetoed 17 bills this year. 

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