Virginia legislative conferees hope the new compromise will plug the commonwealth's gap in transportation funding.
A Virginia conference committee has reached a deal to overhaul the state's transportation funding plan, after members of the state Senate agreed to eliminate the 17.5 cent state gas tax paid at the pump.
The agreement would need approval from both chambers of the state General Assembly before the end of the legislative session on Saturday. It includes several provisions that represent a compromise between the major proposals:
- In place of the 17.5 cent gas tax paid at the pump is a 3.5 percent tax on the wholesale price of gas.
- The state sales taxes will be raised from 5 percent to 5.3 percent to pay for roads and rail.
- A $100 fee will be levied on drivers of hybrid cars.
- About $200 million a year in sales taxes will be diverted highway use in five years.
But these measures may run into opposition again in the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans each control 20 seats.
State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) said he's unsure if he will support them.
"The reduction in the gas tax, again, that makes no sense to me," Petersen said.
If this measure is passed, it would represent the first comprehensive overhaul of Virginia transportation funding since 1986.