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Dudenhefer cites daughter’s death, urges openness to transportation reform

On most days in this General Assembly session, some delegate takes to the House floor during the “morning hour” to talk about the governor’s transportation proposal.

But none have made the argument voiced by Del. Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford, today.

Dudenhefer spoke of his daughter, Emily, who was killed in a car accident in 2004.

“I lost the most precious thing in my life to a car accident on a road in Virginia,” Dudenhefer said.

“There were no drugs, alcohol that I could be mad at a driver,” he said. “It was a young driver, but he was driving on a road in Stafford that had more hills and curves, the lanes were very narrow, and it had at least 10 times the traffic” as it was designed to hold.

His point, Dudenhefer said, was to remind his colleagues that transportation doesn’t just mean wider highways, it means safer secondary roads.

“Transportation improvements, not just congestion but road safety, is immensely important for us,” Dudenhefer said. “We haven’t been investing in our secondary roads, and those are the roads that our kids are driving on.”

Dudenhefer said he hasn’t decided whether to support Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan specifically. But he urged his colleagues to remain open to some version of it.

He advised them to ““contemplate what our obligations are, and to put aside our differences.”

There’s enough in that bill to hate, and there’s enough in that bill to love,” he added.

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