Letter to the Editor: Raise gas tax to pay for road repairs, maintenance


Virginia’s state tax on a gallon of gasoline went up 5 cents per gallon on Jan. 1. It is now 16.2 cents per gallon. This increase was caused by Governor McDonald’s bipartisan transportation funding bill of 2013. The governor and members of the General Assembly, such as Del. Beverly Sherwood, received harsh criticism from some who said it was an outrageous and un-American tax increase.

A survey of nationwide state gas taxes, as of Jan. 1, as reported in the April AARP Bulletin, shows that Virginia still ranks 48th out of 50 states in the amount of gas tax. I didn’t realize that we were so far behind the norm.

In North Carolina it’s 37.8 cents per gallon; in West Virginia it’s 34.6, in Maryland  it’s 30.3; and in Pennsylvania it’s 50.5 cents per gallon.

Repairing and maintaining our highways and bridges is very important for public safety. It’s getting more expensive and we’re getting further behind. Construction costs go up year after year. The Virginia Department of Transportation needs a continuous, reliable, and sufficient flow of revenue to do this critical work. The money has to come from somewhere, and we can’t expect VDOT to hold bake sales to finance these necessary improvements.

If we were to raise the gas tax again 5 cents per gallon each year for the next four years, then we could catch up with adjacent states. Raising taxes in Virginia is politically risky, but it is not un-American.

William A. Hall, Front Royal