How Passed Transportation Plan Will Affect Central Virginia - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

How Passed Transportation Plan Will Affect Central Virginia

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The fine print of a passed transportation plan is coming to light.  Now lawmakers and tax analysts are speaking out on how it will affect central Virginians.

"Transportation was the number issue in this session and we got a bipartisan approval of the plan,"said 57th District Delegate David Toscano (D).

Saturday, the Senate officially passed a transportation plan, with a 25-15 vote, that calls for sweeping changes. It passed the House of Delegates Friday with a 60-40 vote.

The transportation package the first of its kind since 1986. Supporters say the plan was a long time in the making.

"It deals with tremendous problems we have in maintaining our bridges and roads, filling potholes, repaving roads, things that are bread and butter of transportation initiatives," Toscano said.

The plan will replace the current fixed gas tax at the pump with a new tax on gas at the wholesale level. Consumers will also see the sales tax bump up by 0.3 percent in July.

Some are saying there should be another way to get these funds.

"I never like higher taxes," said Jarrett Gold of Liberty Tax Service. "That's why I do taxes because I'm always like hey let's figure out how to pay less taxes in the right way inside the rules of the law."

The compromise will add $880 million in funding for transportation annually by 2018. Opponents say the money could have come from restructuring the state budget.

"The real question would be should we have found that money within the budget that we already have," said 58th District Delegate Rob Bell (R). "The budget goes up. The budget over my tenure it's gone up from $47 billion to $87 billion. I just think that's going up enough to fund the projects we really need."

Toscano says the plan also sets aside money for intra-city passenger rail.  This means that the Amtrak train going through Charlottesville from Washington, for example, is here to stay.

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