Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
E-mail this article
Leave a Comment
Print this Article

This story was updated at 11 a.m. on April 5.

The Virginia General Assembly gave final approval Wednesday to the bill that will add billions of dollars to the state’s transportation funds during the next five years.

Legislators signed off on a series of amendments that Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) made to the funding package.

The House of Delegates voted 64-35 in favor of the governor’s amendments and the Senate approved them on a 26-12 vote. Locally, Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Dist. 34), of Fairfax, and Dels. Barbara Comstock (R-Dist. 34) of McLean, and Tim Hugo (R-Dist. 40) of Centreville, were the only members of Fairfax County’s delegation to vote against the bill.

The legislation increases the state sales tax, changes the way that gasoline and diesel fuel are taxed and adds a local sales tax and other fees in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to generate additional transportation revenues for those traffic-choked areas of the state.

It is expected to raise about $3.5 billion in new statewide revenues during the next five years, according to estimates by McDonnell’s office.

“Without this bill, Virginia faces a massive transportation crisis,” House of Delegates Speaker William Howell (R-Dist. 28) said in a released statement. “This legislation … will improve Virginia’s economic competitiveness, help create jobs and make sure the Commonwealth stays one of the nation’s top states for business.”

The legislation replaces the 17.5 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax with a 3.5 percent wholesale gas tax and 6 percent wholesale diesel tax.

It increases the statewide sales tax by three-tenths of a percentage point and implements a 0.7 percent local sales tax for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, bringing the sales tax in those locations to 6 percent. The revenue generated from those tax increases will be dedicated to transportation.

Two new statewide fees include a $64 per year registration fee for hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, which McDonnell lowered from the original $100 fee proposed, and implementing a 4.15 percent vehicle titling tax.

There will be a new fee on real estate transactions in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, 15 cents per $100 of value. This fee was also lowered, from 25 cents, during the amendment process.

Hotel taxes in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads will also increase by 2 percent as a result of the legislation.

Final approval of the measure will allow hundreds of construction and maintenance projects around the state to move forward, according to McDonnell’s office.

It also offers some good news for users of the Dulles Toll Road, as the bill includes an additional $300 million for the second phase of Silver Line construction, reducing the amount of project funding that will need to be derived from tolls.

The original version of this story omitted Sen. Chap Petersen as one of those who opposed Virginia’s amended transportation bill.