Governor Tim Kaine unveiled his final transportation funding plan Thursday. His solution? A statewide tax increase.

The governor's proposal sets the stage for a showdown between Democrats and Republicans about what some people call Virginia's "transportation crisis" but the door is open for a compromise. Kaine (D) said, "We do need action at the state level. It has to be a statewide solution."

In the governor's bill, that solution comes in the form of statewide tax hikes. A one percent increase to the car title tax, a $10 jump in your yearly car registration fee and an increase to the tax you pay when you sell your home.  "Adult leadership means taking adult responsibilities to solve significant challenges," explained Kaine (D). 

Those challenges include a road maintenance fund that's in the red: about $375 million next fiscal year. The governor's bill would raise money to fill that hole.

Republicans say Kaine's plan might not be the answer. 58th District Delegate Rob Bell (R)  said, "It's a very significant statewide tax increase. It would hit the housing industry and the car industry, both of which are struggling right now."

One sticking point is whether throwing more money at the problem will actually make drivers happy. According to Bell, "State spending has doubled in the last 10 years, and primary road spending has more than doubled in the last 10 years. And certainly one thing we want to look at is with all that money flowing into the road system, why are Virginians so dissatisfied with what they're getting?"

Both sides say there's the possibility of a compromise. "We're solving a problem. In a bi-partisan way, anybody can get on board. The problem-solver label is not a partisan label," assured Kaine (D). 

Bell (R) said, "We're gonna go down and try and keep an open mind and look at his proposal, but we certainly have concerns about the size of the tax increase."

The governor's bill will head to the floor of the House of Delegates first thing Monday morning. It's starting out there because the governor says that's where it will face the most opposition.

Reported by Adam Rhew
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Governor Tim Kaine unveiled his final transportation funding plan Thursday. His solution? A statewide tax increase.