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Virginia House Passes Highway Reform Bill

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Virginia highway reform bill passed the House, and now heads to the Senate.
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Virginia highway reform bill passed the House, and now heads to the Senate.

Six roller coaster weeks after Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed a major transportation funding overhaul, the Virginia's House of Delegates has approved a compromise measure to raise $3.5 billion over five years for roads and rails.

The House voted 60-40, with 25 Democrats providing key "yes" votes to send the measure to the state Senate. House minority leader David Toscano summed up the sentiment on both sides of the aisle, "it's not perfect, but better than not approving any new money for transportation."

"There are things that I don't like about this, but I am willing to support it because I do think that even though it doesn't solve every problem, it solves a lot of problems," says Toscano.

The bill replaces the 17-and-a-half cents-per-gallon gasoline tax drivers pay at the pump, with a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline and a 6 percent tax on diesel. The state sales tax would also increase to 5.3 percent, with that additional revenue earmarked for transportation.

Republican Del. David Albo of Fairfax says northern Virginia will eventually receive $350 million a year for its needs.

"The three funding sources are a .7 cent sales tax, a .25 percent fee when you sell a home, so on a $500,000 that's $1250, and a three percent hotel [tax]," says Albo.

The legislation also imposes a $100 registration free on hybrid and electric vehicles.

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