Del. David Poisson's (D-32) attempt to relieve the toll burden on Loudoun commuters failed to come out of committee during the General Assembly's special session on transportation last week.
Poisson's legislation would provide a tax credit to Virginians who pay their tolls electronically through EZ Pass and SmartTag. The tax credit would be equal to 10 percent of the amount of tolls each commuter pays electronically, but would not apply to any tolls paid in cash. Commuters would print out a copy of their toll payments from their transponder company and attach it to their tax return.
"Loudoun County has the highest number of commuters," Poisson said. "They really need this relief."
This is the second time that Poisson has proposed this legislation and the second time the proposal has been killed in committee. After it was stopped in committee last week, Poisson attempted to offer the tax credit as an amendment to other legislation, but was found to be irrelevant to the special session.
"This legislation is highlighting the problems with tolls in our area," Poisson said.
The delegate from eastern Loudoun said he plans on reintroducing the legislation at the General Assembly's session in January. Poisson said the chair of the finance committee suggested he to bring the legislation back during the next session, something that Poisson finds encouraging.
"People say they do not want to raise taxes, but have no problem raising tolls," Poisson said. "I am not saying we should raise taxes, but tolls would have to be really high to equal the money raised from taxes."
Poisson's main concern about the rising cost of tolls is that the burden falls on working people.
"These are people who have to get in their car and go to work every day," he said. "Not only are we taxing them on the work that they do, but they are getting charged to get there."
In addition to helping Loudoun commuters, Poisson said the legislation would also help encourage the use of transponders on toll roads.
"Everyone talks about how we need to move into the 21st century with electronics, this helps to do that," he said.
While there has been a recent proposal to raise tolls on the Dulles Greenway over the next five years, Poisson said his legislation is not in reaction to the proposed cost increase.
"While the two are related, I have been working on a way to relieve the burden on commuters for a while," he said.