General Assembly Update
March 1, 2012
OMNIBUS TRANSPORTATION BILL CONFEREES APPOINTED
The Senate and the House of Delegates are sharply divided over how to pay for maintaining and improving Virginia’s overburdened road network. HB 1248 and SB 639 took very different paths in the House and Senate. Both the Senate and House agree on removing the creation of a new tolling authority. The House version still has intact the Governor’s proposal to increase funding for transportation by moving, over a seven year period) ¼ of a percent of the sales tax revenues from the general fund to transportation. The Senate has rejected this idea, substituting a gas tax indexing provision instead. The House version keeps the study on devolution, the Senate version strips it out.
The Senate plan also removes the sunset clause from local income tax option of up to 1% for Northern Virginia, Norfolk and Virginia Beach and authorizes localities to withdraw from state secondary road program and impose a local meals tax. In addition the Senate version deletes: Re-direction of 1% of future general fund revenue growth over 8% to transportation; Transportation Improvement Districts where portion of economic growth is dedicated to transportation; Naming rights for transportation facilities.
The House and Senate have appointed conferees to resolve the differences between the House and Senate Omnibus Transportation bills:
Delegates: Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William); Del. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk); Del. Rosalyn Dance (D-Petersburg)
Senators: Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Va. Beach); Sen. John Watkins (R-Powhatan); Sen. Philip Puckett (D-Tazewell)
IT IS TIME TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE CONFEREES AND LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU SUPPORT BOTH THE INDEXING (AS PROPOSED BY THE SENATE) AND THE SALES TAX REALLOCATION (AS PROPOSED BY THE HOUSE) Please take a few minutes to call or e-mail the conferees. The conferees contact information is on the links above.
Here is the message:
BOTH GAS TAX INDEXING AND SALES TAX ARE NEEDED TO BEGIN TO FIX CROSSOVER
Beginning in 2002, VDOT had to transfer money from the construction budget to meet basic maintenance needs. Since that time, the amount of “crossover” has grown to more than $400 million a year. Simply put, the patient is bleeding to death. Neither indexing the gas tax nor allocating an additional ¼ cent of sales tax alone do much to address the problem…yet both together begin to make a difference. Using conservative projections, the chart below shows the annual dollar impact of indexing, sales tax transfer and both over the next six years:
|Fiscal Year||Indexing||Sales Tax||Total New Revenue|
All numbers in millions of dollars.
The importance of doing both THIS YEAR!
- We are forced to take $450 million a year out of the construction budget to meet basic maintenance needs.
- We have more than 5,000 bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The latest price tag to bring them up to standard is $4 billion.
- In Northern Virginia we face some of the worst traffic congestion in America.
- We have not adjusted the gas tax, the primary source of transportation revenues, in more than 25 years. During that time the buying power of those dollars has declined more than 40%.
- The cost to bring our roadways up to standards is more than $1 billion.
- We have had to abandon the formula for distributing transportation dollars leaving our secondary system with almost no funding.
- In less than five years we will have no highway construction program as debt service and basic maintenance consume all of our construction dollars