Virginia Transportation Legislation Headed to Conference Committee

Both the Virginia Senate and House have approved their transportation bills, which now move into a conference committee as the two groups work to hash out differences between the plans before the General Assembly’s session ends on Feb. 23. 

Both chambers have voted to limit tolling, but differ in their language. The Senate’s measure would give the General Assembly—not the governor—the final say in implementing tolls on existing interstates, excluding HOV and HOT lanes, while the House version would prohibit tolling on Interstate 95 south of Fredericksburg. Under current state law, the governor can apply for federal permission to toll existing interstates—except for I-81—without legislative approval. 

The bills also differ on how they will finance transportation projects. The Senate's version of House Bill 2313, which was approved in a 26-14 vote, would raise Virginia’s gasoline tax from 17.5 cents per gallon to 22.5 cents per gallon. In contrast, the House version would eliminate the gas tax entirely and raise the sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. Both bills raise the vehicle registration fees by $15. 

Gov. Bob McDonnell said that if the committee can agree upon “a fiscally responsible plan,” he will sign it into law. 

NATSO continues to urge Virginia operators to spread the anti-tolling message to their state lawmakers. Virginia-based operators or chain locations should email and call Delegates and Senators today to tell them that tolls are taxes and any transportation funding plan coming out of Virginia should give the General Assembly the final say in the tolling of existing interstates. To find your legislators contact information, as well as talking points click here.

 

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This article originally ran in NATSO News Weekly (NNW), NATSO's member only weekly electronic newsletter. NNW is packed with the latest updates on government and business issues affecting the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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NATSO News Weekly (NNW)

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