A deal struck in Richmond on paying for roads, bridges and mass transit could give Gov.
This weekend, Republican-controlled Virginia's legislature signed off on a conference committee's compromise on a transportation revenue package that includes tax increases as well as tax cuts -- but enough of the former to reach $850 million a year in added revenue.
O'Malley will be able to point to the fact that the transportation revenue package was originally proposed -- albeit in a different form -- by Virginia Gov.
O'Malley has been under pressure from Senate President Thomas V. Miller, who has introduced a transportation revenue plan that in some ways resembles the Virginia plan, to put forward his own legislation.
Like the Senate president's plan, the Virginia compromise includes a sales tax on gasoline -- 3.5 cents compared with Miller's 3 cents. Unlike Miller's plan, it would eliminate the state's conventional per-gallon gas tax, which now stands at 17.5 cents.
The measure would initially cut taxation on gasoline by about a third while raising revenue from other sources and using some sales tax revenue that now goes to other purposes. But the plan includes a potential delayed whammy for motorists driving in Virginia: If
The Virginia plan also gives authority to its most congested urban area -- Northern Virginia and
While he hasn't proposed a plan this year, O'Malley has signaled his preference for using the general sales tax as the primary vehicle for additional funding of transportation. The Virginia gives him something to point to by increasing the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.3 percent and devoting the increase to transportation.
The Virginia legislation puts O'Malley and legislators under added pressure to pass a transportation funding measure because the Washington suburbs compete with Northern Virginia for businesses that value a robust transportation network.
Lon Anderson, government affairs director for
"If a Republican governor can raise revenue and pass his (plan) adding over $800 million-plus to transportation, what does that tell you about where a Democratic governor should be?" Anderson said.