House Speaker David Ralston and House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to provide some details on the Transportation Funding Act of 2015, which will be filed on Thursday. The act will provide for $1 billion in funding for the state’s transportation infrastructure without a state tax increase, according to Roberts. For how this will happen, refer to Charlie’s post from earlier this afternoon.
In the press conference, Ralston noted that “doing nothing is not an option,” and released this statement to the press:
“Thursday morning, House Transportation Chairman Jay Roberts and others will introduce legislation which we believe will lead to bringing our state into the 21st century with our transportation policy.” said Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “I expect the bill to be thoroughly vetted as it goes through the legislative process. We welcome constructive discussion and debate. But the time to begin the process is now.”
“There has been a need for legislation to address our state’s transportation needs for several years now, and we can no longer ignore it,” said Rep. Roberts. “Throughout 2014 my colleagues and I who served on the Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding traveled to all areas of the state to get feedback on local and regional transportation needs. We have studied how to fund transportation in our state going forward, and I believe that this bill provides the best solution. I am proud to introduce this plan that does not involve a tax increase for our citizens. This is the beginning of a process and we are listening to any and all suggestions.”
You can listen to the press conference with Speaker Ralston and Chairman Roberts below.
Prior to the media event, the House Republican Conference met to learn about what would be announced to the press shortly thereafter. Off the record, several representatives said that while they liked what they heard at the briefing, they wanted to see the text of the bill and the budgetary impact before making any final judgments. Given that rumors of tax increases would be included in the proposal had been flying around the Capitol since the beginning of the session, they were encouraged that the bill appeared to be revenue neutral.
As of now, the text of the bill isn’t available on the House website. Once it is, we’ll bring it to you.