Going into the final legislative session of his term, Gov. Bob McDonnell finally has proposed significant additional funding for transportation. Unfortunately, his proposals are too late and will serve to shift transportation funding from users to the middle and lower classes of wage earners.
Interstates 81 and 95 are major corridors for travel. Next time you are on I-81, see if you can drive one mile without seeing an out of state auto which, under McDonnell's proposal, would not help to maintain or improve highways used by these nonresidents.
More importantly, switching to sales tax-based transportation funding would be a shift from higher income people who drive more expensive cars (SUVs) that tend to use more gas or premium gas (Lexus) to funding by the middle classes. Since the rich do not spend as much of their income, they would be relieved of some taxes but would not pay as much of the alternative tax.
A simple change to the McDonnell proposal can make it more fair and probably provide a greater increase in transportation funding. That change is to apply the increased sales tax to gasoline purchases. This will require out of state residents to help fund our roads and cause all Virginia residents to more fairly contribute their share of transportation funding.
Ed Hoole, Basye