Gas taxes will likely go up by 5 cents a gallon throughout Virginia as part of an agreement state lawmakers have reportedly reached on transportation funding.
But Gov. Ralph Northam’s idea to scrap annual vehicle safety inspections likely won’t happen, according to the Associated Press.
Legislators in the state House and Senate had agreed to increase the statewide gas tax by 5 cents a gallon for the next two years and then index future increases to inflation, the AP report said.
In addition, a regional gas tax of 7.6 cents a gallon that is currently in place in Northern Virginia, the Interstate 81 corridor and the Hampton Roads will be implemented throughout the commonwealth, meaning the gas tax will go from about 16 cents a gallon to nearly 34 cents a gallon in some parts of the state.
The compromise must pass before General Assembly session ends Saturday. Lawmakers see it as a way to provide additional funding for transportation improvements that also gives local officials a greater say in how that money is spent, the AP report said.
Northam and a new Democratic majority in the state legislature have made increased funding for roads, bridges and public transit a priority. Some Democrats said the failure to increase gas taxes in past years has exacerbated the problem.
“This is an historic agreement that will give Virginians more time with their families and less stuck in traffic,” House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, D-41st, of Fairfax, said in the AP report.
Republican Minority Leader Del. Todd Gilbert, R-15th, of Shenandoah, reportedly said families pocketbooks will be hit by the higher gas taxes and other parts of the Democrats’ agenda.
“Virginians need to buckle up,” Gilbert said.
The plan announced Thursday also calls for lowering the state’s current vehicle registration fee by $10. The fee is currently $40.75 a year.
Northam had proposed doing away with required yearly vehicle safety inspections, saying there’s no evidence the inspections improve highway safety. But the idea never gained traction with Virginia lawmakers.