Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) Jan. 6 proposed a three-step plan to increase state transportation funding in Fiscal Years 2020 to 2022. He confronted the state’s inability to update roads and transit systems in his annual budget presentation, identifying the effort as a “platform for our economy.”
His 2020 proposal will eliminate vehicle safety inspections and cut auto registration fees in half, saving Virginians $150 million and $130 million per year, respectively. However, the state will increase the gas tax 4 cents per gallon each year for three years and adjust for inflation. The new budget responds to a rise in the average mileage driven by Virginians and the insufficient revenue stream from the state’s existing gas tax, due in part to more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The governor also pledged to restore funding to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. In recent years, the region forfeited $100 million from construction projects to pay for the state’s share of Metro transit costs. These reallocations resulted in project cancellations or delays.
Other states are also prioritizing transportation investment in their budget proposals. On Jan. 29, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expected to offer a solution for the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, following her 45-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase. In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little (R) proposed an $100 million budget dedicated to transportation and infrastructure spending. This 7.9 percent increase from 2019 will enable construction projects to improve highway conditions. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has suggested $550 million for transportation infrastructure in his 2020 budget.
This post was written by ARTBA Intern Emma Moore.