Looks like Dave Albo has some competition now, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Authority for transit projects sought:
A Richmond delegate and business leaders are getting ready to push for a regional authority that could raise $105 million annually for transportation projects in central Virginia.
The money would be generated through an additional 2 percent tax on gas, as well as new or increased fees on car registrations, inspections and repairs. The taxes and fees could apply to much of the Richmond and Petersburg area.
As envisioned, the money would support the sale of long-term bonds that would fund roads and other projects to “deal with the transportation issue in central Virginia before it becomes a crisis,” said Del. Franklin P. Hall, D-Richmond, who plans to introduce legislation on the authority to the 2008 General Assembly, which convenes Wednesday.
“We see the issue as important enough that the leaders need to at least give it some thought,” said James W. Dunn, president of the Greater Richmond Chamber.
Hall’s bill would be enabling legislation. The Central Virginia Regional Authority would be subject to the approval of local governments, and it would spread over nine localities: the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Petersburg and Hopewell, and the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Hanover, Henrico and Prince George.
The authority could impose the taxes and fees if the governing bodies of at least five of the nine localities approve. The five approving localities would have to represent at least 51 percent of the area’s population, and they would have to include at least two of the three most populous localities, which are Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond. Amelia, Caroline, Charles City, Goochland, Cumberland, New Kent, Powhatan and Sussex counties could opt in.
As drafted, the bill would require the localities to act by the end of this year, and it could potentially set up the authority — and the higher taxes and fees — in localities even if they oppose it.
The central Virginia authority is modeled after similar ones approved by the General Assembly last year for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. The authorities haven’t been without controversy.
On Tuesday, the Virginia Supreme Court will hear arguments in a challenge to a circuit court decision upholding the creation of the authority for Northern Virginia.
“We have been assured by the attorney general . . . that it meets the test and those statutes are valid,” Hall said.
It never stops…