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Compromise Transportation Bill Passes Virginia State Senate, 26-14

by: lowkell

Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 14:58:33 PM EST


From the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus:

 

Va Senate Democrats Support Bipartisan Compromise: A New, Long-Term Transportation Solution

With over 60% support, this transportation bill has the most 
support of any proposal this year

With 30% of Republicans supporting, this is the most bipartisan 
transportation bill of any proposed this year


RICHMOND, VA — 
Today, Senate Democrats joined Republicans to support a transportation solution that generates sustainable new revenues to fix our transportation problem once and for all. This proposal, a substitute to HB 2313, passed the Senate on a vote of 26 to 14.

Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said, "I'm glad this plan passed the Senate with such bipartisan support. It raises enough money to fix our transportation problem. The Senate plan raises over $900 million per year for state transportation needs, and gives localities the flexibility they have been asking for to solve their unique problems. As long as the conference report resembles the Senate plan, we will have a transportation bill this year. If it varies too widely, we likely will not."

Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) said, "I'm pleased the Senate approved this long-term plan to address Virginia's transportation crisis. I'm especially pleased so many of my Republican colleagues voted for this plan, which raises sufficient revenue to address long-overdue construction needs across the Commonwealth. In the coming days and weeks, I look forward to working with the House of Delegates and Governor McDonnell to craft a final package that we all can support."

Senate Democrats, who had previously opposed using general funds or Marketplace Equity Act (MEA) revenue to fund transportation, compromised with the Governor and Republicans in the legislature and unanimously supported a bill that would do both of those things in moderation. The plan moves about $50 million of general funds annually to transportation.


Background

The Governor's transportation bill passed the House of Delegates with only 53% of the vote, and only 12.5% of Democrats. The plan passed the House with 53 votes, of which just 4 were Democrats.


Key Facts

This plan raises the gas tax by 5 cents and indexes it to the cost of the construction materials it takes to build roads. It imposes a new 1% tax on wholesale gasoline (a “rack tax”), and increases the car registration fee by $15.

The plan directs an additional 0.05 percentage points of the state sales tax toward transportation. This moves about $50 million of general funds to transportation.

In the event the Marketplace Equity Act (MEA) passes Congress, two-thirds of that online sales tax revenue will be earmarked for transportation. Just under 20% will be directed to public education, with the balance going to localities. If the Marketplace Equity Act fails to pass, the wholesale gas tax mentioned above will rise to 2%.

The plan also gives the three heavily congested urban regions the flexibility to raise revenue to address their unique transportation needs. Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and Central Virginia will each be allowed to create and earn revenue from a new regional sales tax of up to 1%. 

lowkell :: Compromise Transportation Bill Passes Virginia State Senate, 26-14
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Bob McDonnell praises Senate transportation bill passage (0.00 / 0)
Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on Senate Passage of Transportation Legislation

RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement following passage of transportation funding legislation (HB 2313) by the Senate of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"Today's vote by the Senate is another step in creating a final plan for addressing Virginia's transportation challenges on a long-term basis. It is now time for both bodies of the General Assembly to work together in conference and agree upon a fiscally responsible plan that will pass with bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate, and which I can sign into law.

Achieving our collective goal will require finding common ground.  That common ground must include a significant commitment of the projected future growth in general fund revenues, greater reliance on sustainable revenue sources which grow with economic activity, as opposed to gasoline tax increases, and sufficient revenues to address maintenance crossover, construction, passenger rail, and transit needs without over burdening our citizens and businesses with taxes.

By nearly a two-to-one margin, Virginians support addressing transportation in a fiscally responsible manner that relies on growth sources rather than increased taxes.  I am ready to work with my colleagues in both parties and both bodies of the General Assembly to deliver such a plan. We must act now.  We must pass a plan this session. To do so will ensure Virginia remains the top state in which to live, work, and raise a family. This is our opportunity to put in place the sustainable, long term transportation funding plan that our Commonwealth has needed for decades. I know we can get it done."



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Passing the buck? (0.00 / 0)
With the three regions that have the flexibility to raise funds, does that mean the local governments would be responsible for raising taxes to generate revenue? Because it seems like that could create some problems with county supervisors not wanting to be painted as tax and spend liberals simply because they want to invest in our transportation needs.

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