Kaine introduces transportation-funding bill

Item by Chris Graham

An increase in the motor-vehicle sales tax, a hike in annual vehicle-registration fees, and a 1 percent increase in retail sales taxes in Northern Virginia and Hampton Road are among the highlights of Gov. Tim Kaine’s proposed solution to the state’s transportation-funding crisis.

Kaine introduced legislation that he wants to be considered in next week’s special Virginia General Assembly session on transportation that also includes a 25-cent increase in the grantor’s tax.

The governor and a coalition of legislative Democrats and moderate Republicans have been making the case for several years now that the needs are out there relative to road funding. Whether or not we’re any closer to a solution is anybody’s guess right now.

“In May the governor presented his proposal for a comprehensive statewide solution to Virginia’s transportation crisis. Over the past weeks he has worked with legislators and leaders from around the state to incorporate new ideas and address concerns,” said Del. Ward Armstrong, D-Martinsville, who will patron Kaine’s legislation in the House of Delegates.

“I’m hopeful that our colleagues in the General Assembly will take this crisis seriously and come together on a transportation solution now,” Armstrong said today.

“Clearly there is a need for an adequate transportation solution,” said State Sen. Charles Colgan, D-Manassas, who will patron the bill for the governor in the Senate. “That’s why the Prince William County Board of Supervisors – among many others – unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the General Assembly to adequately fund the transportation and transit needs of the state.”

The motor-vehicle sales tax would rise from 3 percent to 4 percent under the Kaine proposal, with a half-percent increase in January 2009 and another half-percent increase in July 2009. Vehicle-registration fees would go up $10 a year. Monies from both sources would be dedicated solely to road maintenance.

Funds raised from the sales-tax increases in NoVa and Hampton Roads would be earmarked for roads projects in those regions only.

The dollars from the increase in the grantor’s tax would be put into the Transportation Change Fund.

More information on the governor’s transportation plan can be found at www.transportation.virginia.gov.

To view the governor’s bill, please click here.

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