House passes McDonnell transportation bill
The House of Delegates voted Tuesday to advance Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation package that eliminates the state gas tax and raises the state sales tax as a way to raise revenues for roads maintenance and construction.
The plan will invest $3 billion over the next five years in the Virginia transportation system, according to information from the governor’s office.
“Our citizens have told us loud and clear that now is the time to get something done on transportation,” McDonnell said in a statement after the vote. “They deserve a modern, well-funded transportation system that will get them to work and home on time, without delay. The House has acted, and I thank the members for their support.
“I now urge the full Senate to pass a sustainable long-term transportation funding plan for Virginia. This is our chance to finally address this problem and give Virginians the transportation system they need and deserve. This could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity. It is time to act,” McDonnell said.
General Assembly Democrats pointed out that the legislation takes $200 million from the state’s general fund, which provides funding for public schools, health care and public safety, and also forces the state to rely heavily on Internet sales taxes to provide additional funding for roads needs.
“The bill still needs substantial work. It does not include enough revenue, omits regional help for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, and takes money designated for schools and public safety. We are committed to make it better and will fight to do so,” said House Democratic Leader David Toscano (D- Charlottesville).
“The transportation bill passed by the Republican controlled House of Delegates makes no economic sense. It patches potholes instead of dealing with the severe congestion that cost Virginia our coveted ranking as the best state to do business. It eliminates the gas tax and lets snowbirds traveling to Florida for the winter ride free, while seniors shopping at K-Mart pay a bigger sales tax,” said Former Transportation Secretary Del. Vivian Watts (D- Fairfax).