Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like taxes any more than the rest of you. But it’s time. It’s time for a gasoline tax to facilitate Hampton Roads’ march away from traffic gridlock. Urgent needs far exceed funds that could be diverted from other sources. There just is no other way.
As I sit in my vehicle inching forward to the entrance to the HRBT, I ponder on how many gallons of gasoline tax I could pay with the fuel I have wasted lingering in traffic gridlock. It is my opinion that most Hampton Roads residents would find themselves spending less, rather than more, in total gasoline dollars should a gasoline tax increase remedy our transportation problems.
Gridlock divides our region unnecessarily. How many of you have turned down social engagements and business opportunities on “the other side of the water” because of traffic fears? And how many of you, like me, have actually stayed in a hotel room on the peninsula to assure a timely arrival at a morning event? I would far rather have paid those dollars in gasoline tax than to a hotel chain.
How many of you have driven our expressways and noted the programmable signs detailing the current backup at the HRBT? Aren’t we always relieved that we plan to exit before reaching that point, rather than waiting in the consistently 4 – 7 mile backup?
And what about weather emergencies and natural disasters? Those of us who live in Virginia Beach know there is no way we could evacuate should a major hurricane threaten our area. Most of us would prefer to ride out the storm in our home rather than sitting in a car that has run out of gasoline in a line of traffic stalled on the interstate.
Let’s challenge the “oldest continuous law-making body in the New World” to find a solution to our transportation needs in the 2011 session. Have the users of the product fund the solution source. Tax both Virginians and out-of-state users in a fair and equitable manner. Turn your back on fees and levies unrelated to road use to avoid the appearance that you have voted for a tax increase. The time for action is now.