This morning, Senator Jeff McWaters held a press conference to discuss Senate Bill 1394, which designates ¼ % (0.25%) of the existing sales tax revenues in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia to transportation projects in those regions. These highly congested regions localities have requested a dedicated revenue stream for transportation, and this proposal would dedicate money towards badly needed transportation projects.
Currently, the sales tax is allocated with 1% returned to localities, 0.5% reserved for Transportation, 1% returned to localities for education, and 0.125% dedicated to Local Real Estate Property Tax Relief. Of the 2.375% that remains, this bill would allocate 0.25% of it towards transportation.
Over the next seven years, the proposal would infuse over $390 million for Hampton Roads and close to $720 million for Northern Virginia. In 2004, when the sales tax was increased 0.5%, of which half was earmarked for education with the rest of the funds being sent to the general fund. This measure would simply designate the other half of the 2004 increase towards transportation.
Overall, the Commonwealth’s most congested regions would retain $1 billion dollars in funding to help with projects already in the six-year Improvement Program.
“My constituents sent me up here with a clear priority, to address Transportation for Virginia Beach and our region,” said Senator McWaters. “This bill is an innovative approach, without raising taxes, to keep over $390 million in Hampton Roads, money that is desperately needed for road projects throughout the region. We must continue to strengthen our infrastructure so businesses and our military continue to operate and expand their assets in Hampton Roads. I believe we can find additional efficiencies in government to fund this essential service without raising taxes.”
For the full video of today’s News Conference, click here.