Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Gas station group says they back gas tax increase
The fate of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation bill is currently up in the air, with the House passing it earlier this week but the Senate failing to get the necessary Democratic votes to move it forward.
The House bill is still alive, so the question is whether senators can negotiate enough support for a deal in their chamber to keep it in play. While Sen. Don McEachin told reporters this week that the Democrats’ vote against the transportation bill had nothing to do with their anger over a Senate Republican redistricting bill, it’s believed that House Speaker Bill Howell’s ruling yesterday against that redistricting plan could help shake loose some Senate Democrats’ transportation votes.
Against that backdrop, the Virginia Petroleum and Convenience Store Association today announced that for the first time in its 65-year history, it is backing an increase in the gas tax.
The association represents many gas stations around the state.
In a statement, the association said it recognizes that an increasing deficit in road maintenance dollars “will eventually impact the productivity of our membership and other Virginia businesses.”
The petroleum group said they back raising the gas tax this session from 17.5 cents per gallon to 23.5 cents per gallon, preferring to keep a cents-per-gallon tax than converting to a percentage tax.
McDonnell’s plan eliminates the gas tax almost entirely in favor of an increase in the statewide sales tax.
The petroleum group also said they want to work with lawmakers next year to work out legislation to adjust the cents-per-gallon tax in conjunction with the two-year state budget, to reflect rising federal fuel consumption mandates.