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Government Affairs

General Assembly Update

April 4, 2013


Late yesterday, the General Assembly voted to pass the Governor’s amendments to the transportation funding bill (HB 2313). The key elements of the Governor’s amendments were: 

  • Reducing the proposed vehicle titling tax increase from 4.3 percent to 4.15 percent. After hearing from automobile dealers and constituents, the governor proposed this amendment to ensure the increase is reduced and does not adversely impact the number of vehicles purchased.
  • Reducing the Alternative Fuel Vehicles annual Fee from $100 to $64. The intent of this fee assessed to drivers of alternative fuel vehicles was to ensure that they are paying their share for the road maintenance and wear and tear caused by their vehicles. The original proposal for a $100 fee was based on a 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax. The conference report establishes a lower rate of taxation on gasoline. As such, this amendment ensures equity in how different types of vehicle fuels are taxed.
  • Correcting and reducing the rate of taxation for the regional congestion relief fee. The stated goal for this fee was to raise approximately $30 million per year. Based on slightly incorrect data, the fee was set at $0.25/$100 for real estate transactions. Utilizing correct data, a rate of $0.15/$100 will generate the same revenue of $30 million per year.
  • Reducing the Transient Occupancy Tax in Northern Virginia. At 3 percent, the TOT would place the tax in Northern Virginia near or above surrounding out-of-state jurisdictions. Reducing the rate to 2 percent will not significantly impact revenues, but will ensure Virginia’s hotels remain competitive.
  • Addressing potential legal questions regarding regional taxation authority for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Amendments are made to the sections imposing the regional taxes for transportation by the state to improve the legal posture of the law by changing the applicability of the taxes to any Planning District Commission meeting certain empirical thresholds including population, registered vehicles and transit ridership. Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia are the only jurisdictions currently meeting these criteria, but in the future other parts of the Commonwealth could utilize these tools if their transportation challenges continue to grow.
  • Ensuring transportation funds generated by this legislation are only used for transportation. General provisions were added to the legislation to ensure that funds provided for in the statewide funding and regional plans remain dedicated to transportation in the years ahead. In making this commitment to fund this core function of state government, Virginians expect that commitment to be honored and that this funding is to be used solely for the purpose for which it was intended.

The House passed the Substitute bill by a vote of 64-35.

Voting for the bill were Delegates: Albo, BaCote, Brink, Bulova, Cosgrove, Cox, M.K., Dance, Dudenhefer, Filler-Corn, Greason, Head, Helsel, Herring, Hester, Hodges, Hope, Iaquinto, Ingram, James, Jones, Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Kory, Krupicka, LeMunyon, Lewis, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., May, McClellan, McQuinn, Merricks, Minchew, Morris, Morrissey, O’Bannon, Orrock, Plum, Poindexter, Purkey, Putney, Rust, Scott, E.T., Scott, J.M., Sherwood, Sickles, Spruill, Stolle, Surovell, Tata, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Ware, O., Watson, Watts, Webert, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker.

Voting against the bill were Delegates:Anderson, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Byron, Carr, Cline, Cole, Comstock, Cox, J.A., Crockett-Stark, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Garrett, Gilbert, Habeeb, Howell, A.T., Hugo, Joannou, Johnson, Landes, Marshall, R.G., Massie, Miller, Morefield, O’Quinn, Peace, Pogge, Ramadan, Ransone, Robinson, Rush, Ware, R.L., Wilt, Wright.

The Senate passed the Substitute bill by a vote of 26-12.

Voting for the bill were Senators: Alexander, Barker, Blevins, Carrico, Colgan, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Herring, Howell, Lucas, Marsden, Marsh, McEachin, McWaters, Miller, Norment, Northam, Puckett, Puller, Ruff, Saslaw, Stosch, Wagner, Watkins.

Voting against the bill were Senators: Black, Garrett, Hanger, McDougle, Newman, Obenshain, Petersen, Reeves, Smith, Stanley, Stuart, Vogel—12.

The bill now goes to the Governor for signature.

The passage of this bill represents the largest investment in transportation in the Commonwealth in 27 years! When fully implemented the bill provides over $850 million a year in NEW statewide funding for transportation.  In addition, the bill provides additional regional transportation funding for Northern Virginia ($330 million a year) and Hampton Roads ($220 million a year).  A chart of the new revenues is attached.