By Whitney Spicer
Capital News Service
RICHMOND — Delegate Bobby Orrock, R-Caroline, says he is on board with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan.
Orrock praised House Speaker Bill Howell and the plan’s sponsors – Delegate Tim Hugo of Centreville and Sen. Stephen Newman of Forest.
“Gov. McDonnell, Speaker Howell, Delegate Hugo and Sen. Newman have crafted a creative proposal that I think will serve as a great starting point for the legislature,” Orrock said in a statement last week. “There is a lot of work left to be done, but I am very confident that we can craft a solution that will pass the House of Delegates.”
“Virginia’s Road to the Future,” the transportation plan proposed by McDonnell as the General Assembly convened this month, would replace the state’s gasoline tax with alternative forms of funding.
According to Orrock, alternative fuel vehicles are causing the gas tax to become a less reliable source of funding anyway.
“Fuel efficiency standards and alternative fuel vehicles are making the gas tax less reliable as a funding source,” Orrock said. “By replacing the gas tax with a comprehensive funding proposal, we can stabilize our transportation funding and begin to re-invest in our infrastructure.”
Orrock, who is on the House Finance Committee, urged House members to work together to address Virginia’s long-term transportation funding needs.
McDonnell said his plan will provide more than $3.1 billion in transportation funding for Virginia over the next five years, including $1.8 billion for new construction.
The plan would end the state’s 17-cents-a-gallon gas tax and raise the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. That idea has drawn criticism from Democrats.
Other aspects of the governor’s transportation plan would privatize the Virginia Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control, dedicating the proceeds to transportation. The governor has also proposed an expansion of the 70 mph speed limit to interstate sections statewide.
A growing list of business groups and other organizations has endorsed McDonnell’s plan.