Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation funding package, which would eliminate a gas tax in favor of a higher statewide sales tax, has cleared its first major legislative hurdle.
As expected, the House Finance Committee voted 13-8 to endorse McDonnell's plan to raise more than $3 billion over 5 years. The Senate Finance Committee will consider the legislation this afternoon and the governor expects the full House and Senate to take up his plan next week.
Virginia would be the first state to eliminate its gas tax. McDonnell wants to raise the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent to fund transportation maintenance and road construction, as well as generate $300 million for the Silver Line rail project.
In a written statement, McDonnell called the committee vote a "first positive step toward a long-overdue transportation funding solution."
In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Nominee Anthony Foxx advocated for more infrastructure projects to spur economic growth.