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Virginia Politics
Posted at 02:03 PM ET, 02/14/2012

House approves taking money from other areas to fund transportation

The House of Delegates voted in favor of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s omnibus transportation bill Tuesday, and the Senate passed its own version that would revamp the way Virginia taxes gasoline.
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell enters the House Chambers to deliver his annual State of the Commonwealth Address at the Virginia State Capitol House Chamber on Jan. 11. (By Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

The House kept in most aspects of the original bills, including the naming rights to roads and bridges and diverting money from education and public safety to transportation. But it removed a provision that would have added more tolls.

“This is going to bring real reform,’’ said Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William), who introduced the bill.

House Democrats oppose McDonnell’s plan to increase the sales tax dedicated to transportation from .5 percent to .75 percent over the next eight years, arguing that it will take money from core services, such as education.

“It’s just the wrong direction to go,’’ Del. Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax) said.

The Senate has already eliminated most aspects of the bill, and added a provision that would raise the gas tax along with the rate of inflation. Since the 1980s, the state has imposed a flat 17.5-cent tax on every gallon of gasoline.

The Senate voted to change that to a tax that would rise with inflation at the urging of Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Powhatan).

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