In another passionate plea on the House floor today, Del. Timothy D. Hugo, R- Fairfax, asked – no, he begged – Democrats to reconsider and support Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation reform package. “To my friends on the other side, if you have concerns, let’s lay it out there,” Hugo said. “But a lot of you have had ideas over the last 15 years that haven’t worked. Give the governor a chance to try. Do this,” Hugo urged.
While both parties agree that the commonwealth’s transportation system needs an overhaul, Democrats have rejected the governor’s proposal to increase the state’s sales tax and eliminate the gasoline tax. If lawmakers approve the plan, Virginia would be the first state in the country without a gas tax.
But so far, McDonnell has garnered little bipartisan support for this measure. As if the commonwealth’s roads were not already congested enough, there’s a gridlock in the House of Delegates over the proposed legislation. Especially over the idea to do away with the gas tax, which Hugo considers to be outdated.
“In the next decade, the miles-per-gallon standard for cars goes to 54.5 miles per gallon. Ten years ago, it was under 13. Now we’re at about 27,” Hugo said. “You cannot index gas enough to keep pace at 54.5 miles per gallon.”
Hugo once again made clear today that he wants to get things moving – by turning gridlock into opportunity. “Look around the room, a number of folks have plans, and I applaud you for doing that. We have a challenge before us, but it is also an opportunity,” he said.