Virginia Delegate Timothy Hugo
Motorists in Virginia pay combined gas taxes of just 38.2 cents per gallon and it hasn't been enough to keep up with rising infrastructure needs and costs.
That's why State Delegate Timothy Hugo wants to void the state's gas tax of 17.5 cents per gallon and replace it with an increase in Virginia's state and local sales tax from 5 percent to 5.9 percent.
If he succeeds, Virginia would become the first state in the country to scrap its gas tax. Hugo's bill would allocate an additional 0.5 percent of the undesignated state retail sales tax revenue to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund.
Hugo said in a prepared statement that his proposal will 'stop the bleeding’ of the Transportation Trust Fund and allocate almost half a billion dollars more for transportation in Virginia, without increasing taxes.”
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Tucker Martin, a spokesman for Gov. Bob McDonnell, said “the governor will review this proposal, along with all other transportation proposals being put forward for this session.”
More importantly, the proposals by Hugo, the chairman of the majority caucus in the House, and by lawmakers in Hampton Roads underscore that legislators from Virginia’s population centers are increasingly eager to resolve Virginia’s road-funding problem. The current efforts to raise revenue also show that transportation has become more a regional issue than a partisan concern.
Unfortunately, Speaker of the House William J. Howell has indicated that he might put the brakes on any significant transportation legislation in this session. Howell recently said he does not think the legislature will have time to craft a major transportation package in the 45-day session that starts Jan. 9.
At the same time, Governor McDonnell has said he is crafting a transportation funding plan that aims to generate at least $500 million in revenues annually by 2018. McDonnell is expected to introduce his proposals at some point in the coming weeks.
Does Hugo's proposal have legs? We'll see.
Would you be in favor of eliminating your state's gasoline tax in exchange for an increase in your state's sales tax?