The bill was sponsored by Delegate Tom Rust (R-Herndon), who is the new chair of the House Transportation Committee.
"The bill passed in bi-partisan fashion, 89-9, and will move to the Senate for their action," read a statement from Rust's office. "Should the bill pass the Senate, Governor McAuliffe has stated that he will sign the bill into law."
"The fee included in the transportation reform plan is an unfair and punitive tax on hybrid vehicle drivers. I am proud to sponsor this legislation to repeal the costly and unfair tax, over which my constituents expressed frustration," Delegate Rust said, speaking about the bill. "I thank the members of the House, who supported the bill, for their support."
Beginning in 2000, legislation imposed a $50 annual tax on electric vehicles. The transportation legislation of 2013 raised that tax from $50 to $64 and included hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles as well. The $64 annual tax went into effect in July.
The theory behind the tax was that, since hybrid cars use less gasoline, drivers of hybrid cars pay less in gasoline taxes and therefore do not contribute as much as other drivers to the tax funds that help maintain Virginia roads and support Metro and other such projects.
Rust said he agrees that drivers of electric vehicles, which use no gas, should have to pay the tax, but said that adding in hybrid vehicles is "unfair and punitive."
"Hybrid drivers pay gas taxes. It’s that simple. They have to fill up their car at the gas station just like others on the roads," Rust said in a statement about his plans to fight the bill back in October. "It is unfair to treat them the same as someone who doesn’t pay any gas tax."
"We should be encouraging people to purchase and drive hybrids—not punishing them," he added.
Rust said, in fact, since hybrid vehicles tend to get fewer miles per gallon of gasoline than regular cars, they may even pay more in gas taxes.
For more information on the bill, HB975, click here.
See a video of Rust's speech to the House and the voting of members in the video above.
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