Senate Republicans decided not to debate the newest transportation plan Friday. The proposal did not have the support of enough senators to pass, even though Senate negotiators on a joint conference committee drafted it and House negotiators thought the strongest opposition would be in their chamber, reports the Associated Press.
The new plan would increase gas and diesel fuel taxes by 5 cents a gallon between now and 2003, as well as raise vehicle registration fees. Along with issuing nearly $1 billion in bonds, it would help finance $13 billion in transportation improvements over the next 10 years.
But GOP leaders decided the Senate would not debate any transportation proposal before the Legislature adjourned its regular session, which wrapped up Friday. That means legislators will have to reopen negotiations during a wrap-up session later, which begins April 28.
Both houses have approved transportation proposals, but they differed radically on how to finance the program. The Senate's original plan relied heavily on increases in fuel taxes and registration fees. The House approved a plan without tax increases or bonds that instead would have diverted existing revenue to transportation projects. A revised House plan that added a bond issue was defeated overwhelmingly in the Senate, sending the bill back to conference committee.