Gas tax to improve I-81 goes into effect

A regional gas tax went into effect in parts of Virginia on July 1. | Credit: WHSV
A regional gas tax went into effect in parts of Virginia on July 1. | Credit: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 1, 2019 at 7:21 PM EDT
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New Virginia laws went into effect on Monday including a regional gas tax state lawmakers approved in April to fund Interstate 81 improvements.

The tax is about 2.1 percent of the average price of a gallon of fuel.

"I'll probably end up paying about 40 or 50 dollars more a year in gas tax," Delegate Steve Landes said. "So I think most people are going to probably see that."

Anyone who lives in cities and towns along the Interstate 81 corridor will pay the tax. It also includes some areas that are not right along the interstate. Everyone living in planning districts 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 will pay the tax. Those areas include Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Bath, Rockbridge, Alleghany, Boutetourt, Craig, Roanoke, Giles, Pulaski, Montgomery, Floyd, Bland, Wythe, Carroll, Smyth, Grayson and Washington counties.

It also covers the cities of Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Lexington, Buena Vista, Covington, Salem, Roanoke, Radford, Galax and Bristol.

Del. Landes agreed that something needed to be done about interstate 81, but had concerns about people who will notice a difference on their receipts.

"I'm a little bit concerned about everyone who's paying for the usage of the improvements, may or may not use the interstate," the republican lawmaker said

Landes added he's glad lawmakers were able to get something done to begin improvements.

One driver who spends a lot of time on i-81 said he's willing to pay the extra tax.

"I think it's fantastic," Gordon Mullen, a Roanoke resident said. "It's past time they worked on 81."

In addition to the gas tax, lawmakers also passed a registration fee increase for trucks that drive along the interstate.

Landes said the money will be used to bond projects for improvements in the future so work can begin. He said the money will also be used for safety improvements along the interstate as well.