Virginia Senator: Boost Gas Sales Tax, Cut Income Taxes

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A senior Senate Republican is challenging his own party's anti-tax conservatives in Virginia, proposing a sales tax on fuels offset by reduced income tax rates to generate hundreds of millions of dollars for transportation.

Sen. John Watkins of Powhatan previewed legislation Friday that he will sponsor in the General Assembly intended to help Virginia's losing battle to pay for repairs and upkeep of existing highways.

It's projected to generate $773 million in 2013, its first year, if passed.

The bill also takes dead aim at Gov. Bob McDonnell's plans to toll Interstate 95 near the North Carolina line by barring tolls on existing roads without legislative approval.

Officials from eastern Virginia's largest localities, many choked by traffic, voiced measured approval for the bill at a meeting in suburban Richmond.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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