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Va. road-funding law: Long-haul fix or jump start?

Sunday - 7/28/2013, 11:52am  ET

AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell leaves office in a few months hoping that Virginia's first-in-a-generation transportation funding reforms will be a bright spot in a dark, scandal-scarred final year.

The more than $1.4 billion the new law will generate annually for Virginia roads and rails nearly doubles recent annual spending and breathes life into dormant projects.

But uncertainties remain.

A court ruling striking down tolls on Hampton Roads tunnels could imperil toll-financed public-private highway projects across the state. People are paying slightly higher state sales taxes, titling new cars got more expensive, and diesel vehicle owners got no break at the pump.

And unless a dysfunctional Congress passes legislation allowing states to tax online sales, Virginia loses out on nearly $170 million annually for transportation, forcing gasoline taxes to increase.

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