Lt. Governor Bill Bolling
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling supports compromise in the differing Senate and General Assembly transportation plans. Governor Bob McDonnell warns of any language raising taxes and wants money from the General Fund.
The House bill follows the Governor McDonnell’s transportation plan for the most part. It eliminates the 17.5 cent a gallon gas tax and raises the sales tax to 5.8%. The .8 percent is dedicated to transportation.
The Senate bill passed from committee raises the gas tax from 17.5 cents to 22.5 cents per gallon and 1% at the wholesale level. It also diverts and additional .05 percentage points of the state sales tax toward transportation. It goes to the full Senate today. If passed a contentious compromise between the two substantially different versions is expected.
RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Bolling today released a statement on the Senate Finance Committee’s passage of a transportation bill:
“Today, the Senate Finance Committee approved passage of legislation to help address Virginia’s long term transportation needs. This plan will now be considered by the full Senate. While the plan approved by the Senate is different from the plan originally submitted by the Governor and the plan previously approved by the House of Delegates, it is a significant step forward in helping us reach a transportation agreement this year.
I encourage the members of the General Assembly to keep an open mind as they consider all of the transportation funding options currently on the table. Now is the time for compromise and consensus building. No one should draw lines in the sand or take positions from which they cannot retreat. We have a historic opportunity this year to solve a critical problem that has eluded us for far too long. If we keep open minds, search for common ground and are willing to compromise for the good of the Commonwealth, I’m confident that we can be successful in reaching agreement and enabling our state to generate significant new funds for critical highway construction and maintenance projects. ”
“I look forward to working with the members of the General Assembly to try and make this historic effort successful. The people of Virginia are counting on us to resolve this issue this year. Let’s not let them down.”
Reading between the lines of Governor Bob McDonnell statement on the Senate Finance Committee transportation plan sends a signal indicating if the compromise doesn’t suit him he may veto it. Vetoing any transportation plan compromise would be a risk to his legacy.
“Now, both chambers and both parties need to come together to craft a final plan that can pass both the House and Senate, and that I will sign. That plan must be fiscally responsible and balanced.
The bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee today is much different in scope from our original proposal, although it contains several key elements. The Senate bill uses far too little in general funds, which is an essential part of a solution. I remain convinced that the gas tax is a declining revenue source and therefore we must look for new ways to meet our growing transportation needs. The Senate bill, though, will raise gas taxes and gas prices for the consumer.