Senate approves historic transportation bill
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – In a 25-15 vote, the Virginia Senate green lighted Saturday a landmark transportation bill that eliminates the state gas tax, but raises the state sales tax.
The bill now heads to the governor’s office where Governor Bob McDonnell is expected to give final approval.
McDonnell called the bill’s passage a historic day for the Commonwealth.
“We have worked together across party lines to find common ground and pass the first sustainable long-term transportation funding plan in 27 years,” McDonnell said in a statement. “There is a ‘Virginia Way’ of cooperation and problem solving, and we saw it work again today in Richmond.” [BONUS: Read the governor's complete statement]
The bill sets a framework for how the state will fund future transportation projects. Additionally, it does not add tolls to Interstate 95 and eliminates the state gas tax. However, it creates a new 3.5 percent wholesale gas tax, increases the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent and also imposes a $100 alternative fuel fee for hybrid vehicle owners.
It’s the creation and increase of those taxes that irked some Republicans who voted against the bill.
“I am disappointed that the solution brought forward did not rely on more funding from the General Fund, the taxes folks have already sent to Richmond,” Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R- Prince William) said in a statement following a House vote Friday. “With a sluggish economy, high unemployment, and a concerning level of under-employment, we need to resist tax hikes on our Commonwealth’s struggling families and small businesses. Lingamfelter is a candidate for lieutenant governor.
Check back with WTVR.com and watch CBS 6 News for updates on this developing story.