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Government Affairs

General Assembly Update

February 20, 2008


SB 713, sponsored by Senator Saslaw, will increase the state motor fuels tax $0.01 per gallon in each of the next five fiscal years with the revenues deposited to the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund.

Each cent on the gas tax generates $50 million per year. The total impact to transportation maintenance funding will be over $750 million over the next Six Year Improvement Plan!

SB 713 has passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Finance Committee. At this time, it is the only bill that would replace revenues lost by the repeal of the abusive driver fees.

Please contact members of the House Finance Committee and tell them you support passage of SB 713.

Members of the House Finance Committee are: (E-MAIL ADDRESS LINKS are below. General contact information for phone calls or faxes can be found by clicking the name of the committee member at Finance Committee Contact Information)

Here is the message for the Committee members:

SB 713 is a modest but important measure to replace critically needed transportation maintenance funds lost by the repeal of the abusive driver fees.

The cost to the average driver is less than a dollar a month while the $50 million per year this measure will generate is critically important to maintaining roads and bridges.

I urge you to support SB 713 to help close the gap between revenues that exist and those that we need. The longer the Commonwealth waits, the more solutions cost every taxpayer and ultimately our children.


Background Information:

With the elimination of abuser fees, maintenance funds will be reduced by $60 million a year, or $360 over the next VDOT Six Year Improvement Plan. Virginia’s basic highway maintenance needs now exceed revenues by more than $260 million a year with that money coming out of the construction program.

Meanwhile, Virginia has the nation’s ninth lowest gas tax (17.5-cents per gallon). A one-cent per gallon gas tax essentially keeps the current $300 million shortfall constant.

Certainly most if not all of the 1-cent per year increase would be absorbed by the market. The average motorist would pay less than a $1.00 a month.

Out of state motorists would pay their share for using roads in Virginia.

The longer state legislators procrastinate, the more expensive the burden becomes. It will never be cheaper to close or eliminate the transportation maintenance shortfall than during the 2008 legislative session.