3:06 PM EDT, May 23, 2012
The wheels are turning as some Virginia lawmakers toss around the idea of raising Virginia's gas tax. The last time The Commonweath saw the gas tax go up was 26 years ago.
Given the fragile state of the economy, drivers say it's hard to imagine lawmakers would consider anything that would make fuel prices go up.
"Mmm. Wouldn't be good," says Doug Hairston, a driver.
"Just what we don't need," says Francis Thompson, also a driver.
But if some Democrats get their way, they will raise the state's gas tax. Currently, at 17.5 cents per gallon, it is one of the lowest in the country. Senator John Edwards believes drivers won't see much of a difference.
"(Take) North Carolina for example. It's about twice as high as Virginia yet the price of gasoline doesn't reflect that. It's about even," says Democratic Senator Edwards, who represents Roanoke's 21st District.
By tying the tax to the inflation rate, Edwards says Virginia's transportation budget can stop being shortchanged and start addressing billions of dollars in road, bridge and other maintenance projects. Not everyone agrees.
"Well there are so many other ways, efficient ways, different ways to fix transportation such as the ever inflating sales tax, revenues have generated. Sharing a portion of that and that's a tax that the Governor has said he might be interested in, in streamlining and I'm all for that," says Senator Ralph Smith who represents the 22nd District.
By lowering the sales tax rate and broadening the base to include some services that are currently exempt, the Republican Senator says the state may find a transportation solution.
The jury is still out on what will happen, but if history repeats itself, the House of Delegates will shoot down the proposal agin during next years session. For now, drivers say that's fine by them.
"I mean we pay taxes on everything else, personal property, business, all that I mean. I don't see why they raise gas," says Eoby Greer, a driver.
Copyright © 2013, WDBJ7-TV