Politics

Virginia Dems to Raise Gas Tax by 10 Cents a Gallon

Gov. Ralph Northam delivers the State of the Commonwealth address at the Virginia State Capitol / Getty Images

Virginia Democrats agreed to a deal raising gas taxes in the state by a total of 10 cents over the next two years, a move party leadership said would give people "more time with their families."

With Democrats also expanding a regional gas tax, overall gas taxes will more than double in some areas of the state from 16 cents to 34 cents, according to NBC Washington. Democratic lawmakers said the increases would help reduce traffic on busy roadways in the state.

"This is a historic agreement that will give Virginians more time with their families and less [time] stuck in traffic," Virginia House of Delegates speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D.) said.

Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R.) criticized the move for hurting family budgets. "Virginians need to buckle up," he said.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D.) proposed the elimination of annual vehicle safety inspections to ease the strain on drivers, but this measure was defeated by lawmakers.

The 10-cent increase was a compromise between the state House, which proposed a 12-cent increase, and the state Senate, which proposed an increase of 8 cents, according to WTOP. Both chambers of the Virginia legislature have a Democratic majority.

After the increase goes into effect, the tax will be tied to the inflation rate. Virginia's vehicle-registration fee will also be reduced by $10.

The deal includes infrastructure funding for Northern Virginia, which already has a 2.1 percent gas tax. Northam's office still has to sign the deal into law.

Democrats took back the state House and Senate in November and promised action on raising the minimum wage, gun control, and infrastructure spending. Gun sales surged as the state legislature enacted gun-purchasing restrictions last month.