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The Roanoke delegate is the only Southwest Virginia lawmaker on the House negotiating team.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Del. Onzlee Ware, D-Roanoke , will be among the negotiators as the House of Delegates and Senate try to hammer out a compromise transportation funding bill.
House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford County , appointed Ware and four Republican delegates to the House conference committee that will work to reconcile differences with the Senate.
Ware, a Democrat, is the only Southwest Virginia legislator on either negotiating team. Ware said he hopes to represent the region’s perspective in the negotiations, but will be looking for a statewide funding solution.
The House and Senate plans, like the proposal Gov. Bob McDonnell outlined last month, would include funds to extend passenger rail service to Roanoke.
“I do think that this is the best opportunity in the 10 years I’ve been down here to get a transportation bill,” Ware said. “I’m not going in with any preconceived idea other than there needs to be a sustainable funding source. My goal is to come out with the best transportation bill I can possibly get.”
The House negotiators are Ware and Republicans Dave Albo of Fairfax County, Chris Jones of Suffolk, John O’Bannon of Henrico County and Beverly Sherwood of Winchester.
The Senate negotiators are Republicans Tommy Norment of James City County, Walter Stosch of Henrico County, Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach and John Watkins of Powhatan County; and Democrat Janet Howell of Fairfax County.
Ware is one of only four Democrats who voted for the House version of the transportation bill.
Asked if that’s why he was appointed to the conference committee, Ware said: “I haven’t asked the speaker, but that’s a reasonable assumption.”
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