Gov. McDonnell: Replace Virginia's gas tax with sales tax for roads

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Local,Virginia,Transportation,Steve Contorno,Taxes

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Tuesday proposed eliminating the gas tax drivers pay at the pump and raising the state sales tax to raise $3 billion for roadwork over the next five years.

McDonnell's transportation plan would also shift 0.25 percent of existing sales tax revenues to pay for road maintenance and would send the first $300 million raised by the tax to Northern Virginia to help pay for Metro's Silver Line to Dulles International Airport.

If approved by the General Assembly, which convenes Wednesday, McDonnell's plan would make Virginia the first state to abolish the gas tax.

Diesel fuel would continue to be taxed at the pump.

McDonnell's proposal would eliminate the 17.5 cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline that drivers now pay at the pump. Instead, the governor wants to raise the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent and shift 0.8 cents from every dollar to pay for road maintenance and transportation trust fund.

The governor's plan would raise additional funding for roads by imposing a $100 fee on alternative fuel vehicles and increase the vehicle registration fee by $15. If Congress approves, Virginia also would impose its sales tax on online purchases.

The $300 million McDonnell is offering for the Silver Line is intended to win support for the package by Northern Virginia lawmakers. The additional state contribution toward the $6 billion rail project could help officials avoid a steep rise in tolls on the Dulles Toll Road, which will pay most of the cost of the rail line.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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