We asked and you responded. Realtors from across the state put pressure on their representatives in the Virginia General Assembly, which — after much debate, arguing, and compromise — passed a bipartisan transportation bill that Governor Bob McDonnell is expected to sign.

Transportation is a critical issue for Virginia. Without reliable roads and public transportation systems, the state becomes less attractive for businesses looking to move or expand. Realtors asked VAR to help push for a change to the state’s transportation funding and we obliged.

The bill would eliminate the $0.175 per-gallon gas tax that consumers pay at the pump, and it raises revenues through a variety of new and increased taxes:

  • A new 3.5 percent tax on gasoline at the wholesale level (about $0.12 per gallon at current prices)
  • A new 6 percent tax on Diesel at the wholesale level
  • Raising Virginia’s sales and use tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent
  • Raising the motor vehicle sales tax from 3 percent to 4.3 percent over five years
  • A new $100 annual tax for hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel vehicles (except for those powered by natural gas).

The plan is expected to raise about $880 million a year by 2018 (or $3.5 billion over five years) much of it earmarked for transportation.

There are also “Regional Congestion Relief “ plans for the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads areas, which includes the following:

In Northern Virginia, (Planning District 8 to be exact), additional transportation revenue will be created by implementing:

  • An increase in the regional sales tax of 0.7 percent, for a total of 6 percent
  • An increase of 3 percent in the Regional Transient Occupancy tax (hotel/motel tax)
  • An increase to $0.35 per $100 in the regional grantor’s tax from the current $0.10 per $100

In Hampton Roads (click here to see areas included), additional transportation revenue will be created by implementing:

  • An increase in the regional sales tax of 0.7 percent, for a total of 6 percent
  • An increase in the local gas tax of 2.1 cents

These additional taxes are expected to raise between $300 to $350 million annually for Northern Virginia and between $175 and $219 million per year for Hampton Roads by 2018.

VAR is pleased that the General Assembly passed such a comprehensive transportation plan. Realtors want communities to thrive and we’ve used our political clout to help make that happen — thank you for your efforts in writing your legislators, urging clients and friends to take action, and participating in the process.

CLICK HERE to watch a video featuring VAR’s lobbyist Martin Johnson and director of political operations Heidi Schlicher talk about the transportation legislation on RealtorsChoose.com.

(Updated 2013-02-28 to correct some typos and such.)