Last Friday, representatives from the Prince William Chamber participated in a joint meeting of the Urban Crescent (localities along the I-95/1-64 corridor from Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads). Local policymakers, chambers of commerce and members of the Virginia General Assembly gathered to work towards a consensus on possible solutions for meeting statewide transportation maintenance and construction funding needs. PW Chamber VP of Public Policy & Communications was on hand, representing the Chamber’s 2,000+ businesses. The Chamber is now conducting a survey to which, if any, of the proposed funding options area businesses support.
Following are highlights of the meeting:
- Sen. John Watkins provided an initial overview of a transportation funding package he will be putting forward to the legislature this year. It utilizes a user fee concept by adding, among other things, a 5% sales tax to motor fuels.
- Sen. Watkin’s proposal is not likely to be the final package but it gives the legislature a document around which to begin and focus discussions during what will hopefully be a legislative session dedicated to making progress on Virginia’s transportation funding problems. Other funding sources that have been raised as possible options include increasing and indexing the gas tax, increasing sales tax (with a greater percentage going to transportation).
- For years, business leaders have urged legislators to develop strategies to secure significant, new, dedicated, reliable state transportation revenues before the state runs out of transportation dollars in 2017. This was again expressed at the meeting.
- Lack of adequate transportation funding over the past several years has led to a recent decline in Virginia’s ranking as the best state in which to do business. Adequate transportation infrastructure development and maintenance is vital to our economic vitality and quality of life.
Add your voice to the discussion– take the brief Prince William Chamber survey, which will be sent to local and state policymakers and guide Chamber actions on transportation solutions.