Va. House of Delegates passes transportion bill similiar to Gov’s proposal

Posted at 8:38 PM, Feb 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-05 20:38:03-05

A recent study ranking congestion across the country puts the area around Virginia Beach as number 20.

And it's not just congestion that drivers in Hampton Roads are forced to deal with.  Huge potholes cover the area's interstates.

Tuesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell spoke about the urgent need for things to change.

"We just can't wait anymore. The quality of life in northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond, our ability to attract new jobs to the state is continually being undermined by the fact that we have not addressed our infrastructure problems in the state."

Bills currently moving through the House and Senate are aimed at fixing that.

The House passed its version Tuesday morning which is very similar to the Governor's proposal.

It would eliminate the current gas tax, increase the sales tax, dedicate more of the sales tax to transportation and raise the annual vehicle registration fee.

There were some amendments to the original proposal, though.  One of those was to take out the $100 annual fee the Governor proposed for hybrid vehicles.

According to Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton, that was not expected to generate much revenue anyway.

Connaughton says the bill that passed the House would still provide enough funding for the projects the Governor said would be possible with his proposal.

That includes reconstructive paving on I-264 and I-64, widening I-64 between Newport News and Williamsburg and increasing passenger train service to and from Norfolk.

The Senate is still considering a few versions.