March 8, 2013

Regarding the March 3 editorial “Voting for traffic”:

I opposed the final transportation funding bill in the Virginia Senate on substance and principle. I had supported the Senate plan, which raised the gas tax and indexed it to the cost of construction materials, but the conference committee that reconciled the Senate bill with a House version added several troubling provisions that I ultimately could not accept. My decision was supported by many of my constituents, our neighbors and business leaders. Here’s why:

First, cutting the gas tax is wrong. It weakens the link between automobile use and essential road funding, and it regrettably lowers the contributions from out-of-state drivers. Just last month, Wyoming’s Republican governor and state legislature took the opposite approach, raising their state’s gas tax by 10 cents, a move that is environmentally and fiscally prudent.

Second, higher sales taxes are regressive. Virginia parents should never pay higher taxes to clothe their children than drivers pay at the gas pump.

Additionally, the new $100 annual tax on gas-electric hybrid vehicles is punitive and, simply put, bad math. On average, hybrid drivers pay $45 less in gas taxes than non-hybrid owners. Now they will pay $55 more than other motorists per year.

The final bill was too bitter a pill to swallow. Northern Virginia deserves better.

Adam P. Ebbin, Alexandria

The writer, a Democrat, represents Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax in the Virginia Senate.