Va. gas tax could hinge on Congress

WASHINGTON – The Virginia transportation package approved by the General Assembly could still mean an increased gas tax – but it would happen without a vote.

The $1.4 billion package approved in February included $170 million from an Internet sales tax – that’s a measure which still needs to be approved by Congress.

The bill passed the U.S. Senate in May but has stalled in the House of Representatives.

If that bill doesn’t pass by the end of the year, a different provision of the state legislation, which has already lowered the gas tax and raised the sales tax, would kick in. It would raise the state’s wholesale gas tax from 3.5 to 5.1 percent to make up for the lost sales tax revenue.

The increase will likely be passed to motorists at the pump.

“We’re hearing from many, many states that have Republican governors,” says U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who favors the bill.

“They need this revenue and it’s revenue that, from their point of view, is owed them but for action of the Congress.”

The Internet sales tax legislation would tax items purchased online and the revenue would go to the state where the purchased item is shipped.

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