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Unlike O'Malley, McDonnell won't raise gas tax

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Local,Capital Land,Virginia,Liz Essley

The governor of Virginia won't be following the Maryland governor's move to raise gas taxes.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" show Tuesday that he wouldn't raise the commonwealth's gas tax, a day after Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announcemed that he wants to start charging a 6 percent sales tax for gas, making the state's gas tax one of the highest in the nation.

"You won't get a similar announcement as Gov. O'Malley's yesterday," McDonnell said. "We're facing one of the worst recessions in years. We're not going to raise taxes right now."

McDonnell has instead proposed shifting more existing revenues, such as sales tax, to transportation to fund improvements to the state's ailing infrastructure. He also recently proposed selling naming rights to the state's roads and bridges to private companies to help raise maintenance funds.

McDonnell's aversion to a gas tax increase comes at a time when local transportation officials, especially in Northern Virginia, are decrying the state's failure to maintain crumbling roads and bridges and are calling for new, dedicated revenues — such as a gas tax increase — to fix the "transportation crisis."

Virginia's 17.5 cents gas tax hasn't been raised since 1986.

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