McDonnell Signs Transportation Bill Into Law
Richmond, VA - Governor Bob McDonnell signed his landmark transportation bill into law Monday. The plan promises $3 billion in Virginia infrastructure investments.
But it brings about some changes for us all.
The law implements sweeping changes to the state gas tax, as well as fees for drivers of alternative fuel vehicles.
Monday, the governor set it all off with a signature.
"For the future of Virginia, thank you Mr. Speaker" said McDonnell during a ceremonial signing of the law.
And with that, Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law his solution to Virginia's transportation troubles.
"We had a huge maintenance deficit that was not being addressed by the current flow of gas tax and other revenues" he said.
The gear change includes lowering Virginia's gas tax from 17.5 to 3.5 cents per gallon. McDonnell claims the tax had become obsolete.
"The gas tax had decreased about 55% over about a 25 year period, eaten up by inflation, alternative fuels, CAFE standards" he said.
This will make for much lower prices at the pump.
But don't get too excited; most of the money being raised to improve Virginia infrastructure will be collected from increasing the state sales tax from 5% to 5.3%.
Also we're looking at a new $64 annual fee for drivers of alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles.
"If you're going to come out and buy a hybrid car, you're going to buy a hybrid car" said Eddie Howell, a General Sales Manager for Apple Ford.
Howell says he doesn't think the fee will slow sales of hybrids. But still, he says even though they sell only one to two of the cars a month, he feels the fee unfairly punishes hybrid drivers.
"It goes against the grain, you know? Why penalize the person who wants to do something good?" he said.
That fee aims to balance out hybrid drivers having to pay less at the pump, and thus, the state collecting less in gas tax from them.
Without this law, legislators estimate the state's road construction fund was on track to run out of money by the year 2017.