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Va. Transportation Taxes Halted Today

Because of last week's decision by the Virginia Supreme Court, the state and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will stop collecting the transportation taxes and fees that took effect in January under the plan passed last year by the General Assembly.

The authority is working on a plan for refunds on the taxes already collected, but doesn't have anything to announce on that yet. None of the money collected has been spent. In fact, the authority has a very small staff at this point and asks people to hold off on calling its office, because it can't answer individual questions over the phone and really doesn't have anything to add at the moment.

Friday's court ruling said the legislature did not have the right under Virginia's constitution to grant taxing powers to the transportation authority. The ruling did not void the authority itself, which was created under separate state legislation in 2002, but it did remove its chief source of power, which was money.

The authority had planned to spend the money on Metro, VRE, and other transit and road projects across Northern Virginia. Many advocates for transportation improvements considered the empowerment of the authority to be the biggest breakthrough in congestion relief in two decades.

Based on the court ruling, the state's commissioner of motor vehicles and the commissioner of taxation are stopping the collection of the regional taxes and fees for which they were responsible. The transportation authority today told its agents they also should stop collection all the categories of taxes and fees over which they had responsibility.

That means no more of the following:
-- The 2 percent Transient Occupancy Tax
-- The Grantor's Tax of 40 Cents per $100 of valuation
-- The 2 percent Tax on Vehicle Rentals
-- The Safety Inspection Fee of $10
-- The Initial Vehicle Registration Fee of 1 percent
-- The 5 percent Sales Tax on Auto Repair
-- The Regional Vehicle Registration Fee of $10

The authority says that as soon as it adopts a refund plan, it will be posted on its Web site, at

By Robert Thomson  |  March 4, 2008; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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This is a huge victory for the taxpayers of Northern Virginia. We already send enough money downstate.

Hopefully the Highway Robbers... er.. I'm sorry.. the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.. will give back the money that they stole without any further delay.

Posted by: Bob | March 4, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

It would be interesting if someone could calculate the processing cost of those refunds. With relatively small amounts and with government in charge, it will probably be 110%.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse


For military peronnels (and contractors), will there be a shuttle between Bolling AFB and the National's stadium for baseball games?

Posted by: Bolling AFB | March 4, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse


If you purchased a car last year, will you get a bigger chunk of that money back since car purchasers were robbed of more with the 1% initial vehicle registration fee?

Posted by: Bob | March 6, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

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