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McDonnell proposes amendments to transportation bill

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Gov. Bob McDonnell is tinkering with the transportation bill passed last month by the Virginia General Assembly.

He has proposed amendments designed to ensure the legislation does not conflict with the state constitution while reducing the costs of some fees.

The proposed changes will be considered by the General Assembly during a “veto session” next month.

McDonnell said one set of amendments would address legal questions raised by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli concerning regional taxation authorities the bill would establish in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Cuccinelli last week issued an opinion last week saying the bill’s language is unconstitutional.

Amendments would change the regional taxing provision to apply to any planning district commission meeting certain thresholds including population, registered vehicles and transit ridership. Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia are the only jurisdictions currently meeting these criteria.

Other amendments would:
• Reduce an annual fee for alternative fuel vehicles annual from $100 to $64.
• Lower the proposed vehicle titling tax increase from 4.3 percent to 4.15 percent.
• Reduce the rate of taxation for the regional congestion relief fee from $0.25/$100 for real estate transactions to $0.15/$100.
• Decrease the transient occupancy tax in Northern Virginia from 3 percent to 2 percent.
• Ensure transportation funds generated by the bill are used only for transportation.

The bill eliminates the commonwealth’s 17.5 cent per gallon tax on gasoline, increases the state sales portion of the sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent. McDonnell’s expects the amended bill to result in more than $5.9 billion in total revenue for transportation during the next five years.

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