VIRGINIA FINALLY PASSED A TRANSPORTATION bill this year, but builders are not happy about an open-ended road impact fee they claim Gov. Tim Kaine slipped in at the last minute.
Mike Toalson, executive vice president of the Virginia HBA, says the builders plan to fight the additional impact fee next year during the 2008 legislative session. The new charge, which expanded road impact fees to 67 municipalities statewide, is far different than the compromise legislation that the HBA supported.
The governor has the power to veto a bill, sign it, or send a measure back to the legislature with amendments. “What he sent back was a substitute bill that was virtually impossible to amend,” says Toalson, who claims that there was no public debate about the added impact fee. “It was sent back in a form in which legislators either had to vote yes or no on a single day,” he says.
Delacey Skinner, a representative for Gov. Kaine, disagrees with Toalson, saying there was ample time for public comment on every aspect of the bill.
Toalson says the HBA worked closely with state officials to craft a law that would raise $2 billion annually for transportation improvements. The new law raises numerous fees statewide and increases the grantor's tax—the tax paid by sellers of real estate—in the Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads regions.
“We said the industry would pay its fair share [of infrastructure costs] ... but the thanks we got for stepping up to the plate was this late addition,” Toalson says.