Gov. Bob McDonnell has obviously been spending a lot of time under the hood of the hard-fought transportation deal the legislature passed this winter. He released a list of proposed amendments this morning that would winnow down some of the new revenues included in the compromise. Here are the highlights of his proposal:
* Reduces the proposed vehicle titling tax from 4.3 percent to 4.15 percent. It’s currently 3.5 percent. This is the tax you pay when you buy a car or truck.
* Reduces the fee on hybrid cars from $100 to $64. The governor says alternative fuel vehicle owners should pay something to help with road maintenance. This reduction reflects the fact that the gas tax is also declining under the plan, he says, although this fee is supposed to help cover that loss.
* Reduces the tax increase on hotel rooms in Northern Virginia, part of new regional revenues for projects in that region.
* Makes changes to guard against legal challenges to the regional taxes by permitting them in areas that meet certain population thresholds and numbers of registered vehicles. The effect is the same in that the taxes will be imposed in Hampton Roads and NoVa, but other metro areas in theory could adopt the taxes in the future if they grow enough. That’s a long way away for Roanoke, by the way.
Do you think the governor’s proposals are warranted, or is he taking a risk that the transportation compromise will start to unwind?