NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Gov. Bob McDonnell made a direct appeal on Thursday to residents in some of the state's most congested regions to ask their lawmakers to support his transportation funding proposal.
McDonnell wants to eliminate the state's 17.5-cent per gallon gas tax and replace it with a sales tax increase of less than a penny on the dollar. Virginia would be the first state to eliminate the gas tax if the General Assembly approves the measure, which McDonnell contends is necessary to provide a long-term funding solution for transportation.
He said the gas tax is losing value against inflation and that a growing influx of more fuel efficient vehicles and those that don't use gasoline make relying on the gas tax unsustainable in the future.
The tax on diesel fuel — primarily used by heavy commercial vehicles that disproportionately damage roads — would remain, however. McDonnell's proposal would also impose a $100 fee on hybrid cars.
McDonnell held news conferences in Newport News and Herndon to tout his plan in front of local media, as well as on a conference call with media in Roanoke.
"I'm asking for help. Call your legislators and let them know you want better transportation infrastructure," McDonnell said in front of a bank of television cameras at Huntington Ingalls Industries, one of a group of businesses supporting his proposal.
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