- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gov. Tim Kaine yesterday raised the possibility again of increasing the state tax on gasoline to fund Virginia transportation projects, despite the cost being at a record high.

“It’s a little bit challenging with gas being what it is,” said Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, “but all options are on the table.”

Gas prices in Virginia hit a record high yesterday. A gallon of regular was selling for $3.52 on average, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“I guess Governor Kaine hasn’t looked at gas prices lately,” said Delegate Jeffrey M. Frederick, Prince William Republican. “Why in the world does the governor want to make it even harder for hard-working families to live and earn their paychecks?”

The governor also said on WTOP Radio that within the next 10 days he will call state lawmakers back to Richmond for a special General Assembly session to resolve the state’s transportation problems.

Mr. Kaine said the call will includea transportation proposal — with a possible gas-tax increase — to find money to help ease gridlock in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia and find money for state road maintenance.

Mr. Frederick said he hopes Republicans will stand strong and block a possible gas-tax increase, but said he expects Mr. Kaine to twist some arms to get his priorities passed during the session.

The Virginia Supreme Court overturned legislation that state lawmakers passed in 2007 that gave unelected officials in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia the power to tax residents in those areas to pay for transportation projects.

In addition, state lawmakers last month repealed legislation passed in 2007 to impose fees on “abusive drivers.” The lawmakers repealed the legislation following widespread criticism from motorists who said the fees were excessive and targeted only Virginia drivers.

Mr. Kaine said a radio caller’s suggestion to impose a gas-tax increase only on out-of-state drivers was “novel.”

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