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Virginia Democrat Proposes Gas Tax Increase

Plan serves as alternative to governor's transportation plan

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A fight over Virginia's gas tax is expected to take top billing in the Virginia General Assembly in 2013.
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A fight over Virginia's gas tax is expected to take top billing in the Virginia General Assembly in 2013.

Virginia Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax County) will introduce legislation this week to raise new revenue for transportation that will include increasing the state's 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax.

Democrats' plan is an alternative to Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) proposal to scrap the gas tax and instead increase the statewide sales tax — which its opponents say won't pass.

Saslaw's bill would raise the gas tax by 5 cents each year for two years and index the tax for inflation.

"That would raise about $500 million a year and pretty much come close to stopping the raid on the construction funds, particularly once it's indexed," Saslaw says. "And you remember, you're indexing it from 27 cents and not 17."

Saslaw has been vocal in opposing the Governor's bill, which he said would force Virginians, not travelers passing through, to pay for roads.

"What I'm doing is clean, okay? No gimmicks. No gimmicks," Saslaw says of his proposal. "And the people out-of-state have to help fund the damage that they do."

His bill would also raise the sales tax by 1 percent. Half of that would go to transportation, and the other half to public schools and higher education.

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