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Senate, House trying to find compromises within $85 billion plan

By Trevor BaratkoLoudoun Times-Mirror

Members of the Virginia General Assembly are likely to vote on a two-year, $85 billion state budget April 17 or April 18.

Conferees from the Senate and House of Delegates on Thursday struck a tentative deal, expected be taken up by the full General Assembly the week of April 15, said Del. Randy Minchew (R-Dist. 10). Twelve negotiators from both the Senate and House of Delegates have spent the past week trying to find compromises within the $85 billion plan passed by the Senate March 26.

Minchew said he has yet to receive the full details of the compromise.

Multiple media outlets have reported a key point of contention is the additional $300 million in funding for Phase Two of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project in addition to the $150 million already pledged by Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Funding for Metrorail was a hotly-debated issue all session. State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Dist. 33) was one of the most vocal critics of a budget that didn’t include any additional funds for Phase Two, which Herring has said is of local, state and federal significance.

Del. Tom Rust (R-Dist. 86) is one Republican on the House side who agrees with supporting additional funds for Rail to Dulles, but Rust predicted the issue would be heavily negotiated by the 12 conferees.

“One of the differences which I support is providing $300 million extra for the Metrorail extension,” Rust said in a recent email.