Stop Tax Hikes for Transportation

  Dear Virginia Taxpayers,

Republicans for Higher Taxes? Get ready to pay up unless you speak up now! To pay for roads, a Conference Committee made up of Democrats and Republicans from the House of Delegates and the Senate will propose which taxes get hiked and by how much. Call your Delegate and Senator right away and urge them to vote against any bill that raises any tax.

The Governor had proposed raising the state sales tax from 5% to 5.8%, ending the gas tax (except for diesel), and increasing car registration fees. Senate democrats and some Republicans want higher gas taxes and higher sales taxes. Others propose both statewide and local or regional increases in sales or income taxes in Northern Virginia and Tidewater. It seems that on both sides of the aisle everyone’s answer to our transportation problem is higher taxes.

While I agree that the transportation problems in Northern Virginia and Tidewater are in need of a serious, long-term solution; I do not think tax increases are the answer. I do not impute the motives of legislators who believe higher taxes will solve the problem but local planning has much to do with congested roads. If development continues unabated in areas where new road improvements are made the improvements are negated.

Solutions: This year I offered a budget amendment which would have allocated one cent of every dollar from all accounts exclusive of salaries and employee benefits. This would have dedicated at least $107 million more per year to transportation. The House of Delegates Republican leadership refused a direct vote on my amendment by pulling a parliamentary dodge.

Wrong Priorities: Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly are funding political roads that move very little traffic. In 2010 the General Assembly passed $3 billion in transportation bonds. Where is that money going? Route 58 carries a maximum of 7,900 vehicles per day. Northern Virginia roads carry 100,000 and more vehicles per day. Route 58 is slated to get about $750 million to $1.3 billion in future bonds. Route 460 will go from Prince George County to Suffolk and cost $1.4 Billion for 55 miles of toll roads. VDOT’s website does not include traffic counts but states it will produce 4,000 construction jobs.

A bill this year would have given Northern Virginia and Tidewater more representation on the Commonwealth Transportation Board. That bill failed in the House 49-51. So now, if the General Assembly and Governor raise taxes for roads and transit, decisions will be weighted in favor of construction districts reflecting the population of Virginia in the 1930’s and will not give enough weight to the areas in Virginia that need the most help.

Virginia state government needs to live within its means, as every family must. If we don’t want the federal government spending without cutting, why excuse it in Richmond?

All of the various plans being hammered out involve tax increases. We are supposed to adjourn this Saturday, so please contact your Delegate and Senator right away! Urge them to vote against any bill that raises any tax. To find out who represents you, click here.

Thank you for your diligence.

Delegate Bob Marshall