Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s proposal to pay for roads and transit by eliminating the gasoline tax and increasing the sales tax [“McDonnell wants to end Va. gas tax,” front page, Jan. 9] is, without a doubt, the worst option imaginable for Virginia residents, as it would result in the highest cost for all and fall disproportionately on lower-income residents.
Eliminating the gasoline tax will not reduce the price of gasoline. Oil companies and wholesalers will simply raise the price they charge Virginia service stations. This is why proposals to temporarily reduce gasoline taxes when prices were high were not pursued: They would not work.
Increasing the sales tax, meanwhile, would increase costs for Virginia residents (and encourage shopping in Maryland and the District). And lower-income residents, because they spend a higher percentage of their income than do higher-income residents, would bear the relative burden of the tax increase.
An additional tax on hybrid vehicles is a good idea. They use the highways in the same way as other vehicles but pay less for highway upkeep. But gasoline taxes should be increased, not eliminated, to pay for highway maintenance. There is a reason why, as The Post pointed out, no other state has eliminated its gas tax.
Robert Berman, Vienna