NEWPORT NEWS(AP) -- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is taking his sales pitch to change how Virginia pays for transportation projects to some of the state's most congested areas, including Hampton Roads.
The governor's bill would eliminate the state's 17.5-cent per gallon gas tax and replace it with a sales tax increase of less than a penny on the dollar. It also imposes a $100 fee on fuel-stingy hybrid cars.
The tax on diesel fuel remains and part of the funding scheme relies on Congress passing a law mandating state sales tax collections for online purchases.
Among other things, the five-year, $3.1 billion proposal would expand Interstate 64 between Newport News and Williamsburg. It would also provide additional funding for rail and transit projects.
"If you want a better quality of life, and you want to see jobs grow down here, we've got to have better transportation, so I hope people will support it. Call your legislator. That's what we need right now. The votes are next week, and we need to get this done," said Gov. McDonnell.
McDonnell is scheduled to be at Huntington Ingalls Industries, the Bateman Center, at 2401 West Avenue in Newport News at 2:45 p.m. Before coming here, he'll be in Herndon. His appearance in Roanoke was canceled due to the weather.
His transportation funding bill has cleared its first hurdles in the General Assembly, but it still has a long way to go.
The governor feels this is an historic opportunity to get things done. "Doing some tax reform, making priorities out of the General Fund, and using greater funding mechanisms from the Congress, we can put together this package: $845 million a year that will do some great things down here," the governor said.
The Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday advanced the five-year, $3.1 billion funding package to the Finance Committee.
In the House Finance Committee, which clears tax and revenue legislation, more than a dozen transportation-related bills were either rolled into McDonnell's package or tabled.