Creating a strong economy in our city and our Commonwealth means building on a foundation formed by several elements – each of which constitutes a complex web of issues.
A strong middle-class is created and sustained by available jobs at living wages. In turn, the businesses that provide these desirable jobs expect an educated work force and a shared goal of success with their communities. Productive collaboration between government and the private sector is vital.
A healthy commercial sector requires a level playing field and a balance between stakeholders. Government’s role includes reasonable policy and responsible revenue generation and distribution.
Sound and sustainable transportation policies are paramount to the economic growth and vitality of Norfolk, the Hampton Roads region and all of Virginia.
This legislative session resulted in a long overdue transportation plan. It is not a perfect plan, but over time it will provide over $1 billion a year in transportation funding and includes substantial funding for regional projects. We are still challenged with a backlog of transportation projects needed, and there is much work ahead, but the 2013 legislative session marked an important step forwarded.
- Eliminating the current gas tax, which is 17.5 cents per gallon
- Placing a wholesale tax on gas of 3.5% and a wholesale tax on diesel fuel of 6%.
- The Projected Revenue for a wholesale gas tax is $2.359 Billion over the next five years.
- The tax on Diesel is projected to generate $1.323 Billion over the next five years.
- The state sales tax will increase from 5% to 5.3% -- generating a projected $1.542 Billion over the next five years.
- The sales tax for a vehicle will increase and those who own an alternative fuel vehicle will pay a regular fee of $64.
These are the broad strokes and all together, the state expects this legislation to generate over $3 Billion in transportation funding over the next five years.
The legislation also establishes special regional funds for Hampton Roads.
- An additional 0.7% sales tax raises the tax rate to 6% here.
- Hampton Roads will be share in the 2.1% tax on wholesale distribution of motor fuels.
- Hampton Roads can only use the regional funds for highways – not transit funding – and both regions have a Maintenance of Effort requirement. The details for such a funding matrix are still being discussed and there are details to be worked out.
Finally, the latest state budget does adequately fund the Virginia Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund – an important initiative for our Commonwealth and our city.