Virginia lawmaker wants to raise gas tax

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-01-18 11:34:52-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Virginia Del. Vivian Watts (D - Fairfax) sponsored a bill in the 2012 General Assembly to add a statewide 4% sales tax to gasoline to be phased in over the next four years. She would use the money to pay for road and transportation projects.

"Even though we have a Triple A bond rating, we can't borrow more without identifying how we're going to pay for it," said Del. Watts.

Del. Tim Hugo (R - Fairfax) said a sales tax on gas is not the answer.

"You start raising taxes on average people and it's tough. The economy is tough. We don't need to push someone over the edge," he said.

Governor Bob McDonnell's plan called for funding highway maintenance through the state's general fund. State Senator Richard Saslaw (D -  Alexandra) said general fund money should be spent elsewhere.

"Our bridges are crumbling, our roads are falling apart, and the only way we are financing roads is to take it out of the public schools is what the governor proposes to do," said Sen. Saslaw (D -  Alexandra).

Saslaw said gas distributors and oil companies would likely absorb the cost of the 4% sales tax on gas.

"The business community is 100% universal in raising the gas tax. 100% universal," he said.

Hugh Renolds, owner of Veterans Cab Association in Richmond, disagreed with Saslaw. He told CBS 6 he spends $60 on gas every day, and can't imagine spending more.