General Assembly Update
March 11, 2008
BUDGET COMPROMISE APPEARS AT HAND; NO DECISION ON TRANSPORTATION FUNDING FIX EXPECTED BEFORE ADJOURNMENT
House and Senate budget negotiators have settled their major differences on a two-year state budget. However it will probably be Thursday or Friday until a final vote can be scheduled on the budget.
It seems unlikely that legislators will be able to resolve fixing the transportation funding issues caused by the repeal of the abusive driver fees, the downturn in the economy, and the Supreme Court’s ruling that the fees for regional transportation programs in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are unconstitutional.
Nonetheless, eight Hampton Roads lawmakers said Monday they would support a 1 cent sales tax increase in the region to finance new road construction. Delegates Chris Jones, R-Suffolk; Robert Tata, R-Virginia Beach; John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake; Terrie Suit, R-Virginia Beach; Sal Iaquinto, R-Virginia Beach; Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News; Glenn Oder, R-Newport News; and Brenda Pogge, R-James City said they would support legislation to have the General Assembly impose the higher tax, or allow the region’s cities and counties to enact the tax. A 1 -cent-on-the-dollar sales tax increase, would raise about $153 million a year for transportation if imposed on the 12 localities in Hampton Roads.
Please be sure to thank these folks for their willingness to seek a permanent transportation funding solution for Hampton Roads.
Similar proposals have offered up for Northern Virginia.
While these funding fixes are likely to get some heated debate over the next two days, it now seems more likely that legislators will have to return for a special session to enact a comprehensive transportation funding fix.