Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions about the Dulles Greenway

To go directly to the Dulles Greenway Website, CLICK HERE.

Here are quick Answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions…
How is the toll amount determined?

When traveling eastbound on the Greenway, motorists pay the toll upon exiting the road. Therefore, determine your exit, such as #4--Belmont Ridge Road--and you’d pay $2.30 if you used a credit card, and $1.85 if you used your Smart-Tag/EZ-Pass. If you traveled the entire length of the Greenway, then a $3.00 toll would be collected. Note: when continuing on the Dulles Toll Road (DTR), an additional 50 cents is collected for travel on the DTR.

When traveling westbound on the Greenway, motorists pay the toll upon entering the road. Therefore, if you enter the Greenway westbound at Route 28/Sully Road, you will pay $3.00. Note: if you continue on to the Greenway from the Dulles Toll Road, an additional 50 cents is collected for travel on the DTR. There is a discount on weekends. Please contact us at 703.707.8870 if you have any further questions. (Click here to link to the toll-rate page.)

What if I passed through a toll without paying?

If you passed through a Greenway toll lane without paying the required toll, you have 48-hours to take care of the obligation. If the toll is not paid in the required time, you will be assessed a $25 late fee. If you are a Smart-Tag/E-ZPass user, and no deduction was made from your Smart-Tag account, you are still obligated to pay the toll amount due. Please note that the amount due for the missed toll will not be deducted from your Smart-Tag/E-ZPass account, and must be paid directly to the Greenway. Click here to link to the Insufficient Funds Form, which you can print-out and mail-in with your payment. Please contact us at 703.707.8870 if you have any further questions.

What do I do if I received an unpaid toll slip?

If you received an unpaid toll slip, you must mail-in the payment along with the unpaid toll slip within 7 days. Please mail all unpaid toll slips to the following address: Dulles Greenway, PO Box 433, Sterling, VA 20167. You may send cash, check, or money order. All checks should be made payable to the Dulles Greenway. You may also pay the unpaid toll (include the unpaid toll slip) in a cash receiving lane, provided the toll is paid within the 7-day period. If the toll is not paid in the required time, you will be assessed a $25 late fee. Please contact us at 703.707.8870 if you have any further questions.

What if I left my change at the toll booth?

If you left your change at the toll plaza, contact us at 703.707.8870, as soon as possible. Please have any pertinent information at hand, such as the date & time of the incident, the direction in which you were traveling, and a description of the toll officer.

Where can I pick up Velcro strips for my Smart-Tag/E-ZPass?

Each Smart-Tag/E-ZPass transponder should be mounted on your windshield. Properly mounted Smart-Tags/E-ZPasses reduce the chances that your transponder will not be read accurately. If you need Velcro strips, please contact the Smart-Tag/E-ZPass Customer Service Center at 1-877-762-7824, or click here to request one via e-mail.

Why doesn’t the Dulles Greenway offer variable toll pricing based on usage?

The Dulles Greenway’s current layout cannot accommodate distance-based pricing. The Greenway was designed to maximize the efficiency of the toll collection process…thus expediting traffic flow. This design--much like that of the Dulles Toll Road--does not offer a discount for partial usage.

Why don’t your remote toll booths accept coins?

The Greenway elected not to use coin-operated toll machines for several reasons. First, processing time for coin transactions can actually be longer than the time needed for credit card transactions. Also, coin machines require much higher maintenance, due to vandalism, foreign objects, and coin jams. However, most importantly, coin machines pose a security risk to Greenway employees who transfer funds between locations. We feel that credit card and Smart-Tag/E-ZPass transactions are the safest, most expedient methods for unmanned toll collection.

Does VIP membership cost me anything?

No, it costs nothing to become a Dulles Greenway VIP Cash-Back Bonus member. In fact, driving on the Greenway as a VIP Miles member can even earn you a cash-back bonus after your first year of membership.

Can I combine my multiple VIP Miles accounts into one account?

No. The cash-back bonus markers (starting at 2,800 miles) are based on individual Smart-Tag/E-ZPass usage. Multiple Smart-Tags/E-ZPasses on one VIP Miles account would increase the established cash-back markers.

What times can I use cash on the Greenway?

In order to keep costs at a minimum, cash collection hours have been reduced on the Dulles Greenway. At the mainline toll plaza, the cash collection hours are as follows:

EASTBOUND 6:00 AM 7:00 PM 9:00 AM 9:00 PM
WESTBOUND 9:00 AM 9:00 PM 9:00 AM 9:00 PM


Motorists are not able to pay cash at the ramps for their toll. The Dulles Greenway does accept all credit card types as well as Smart-Tag/E-ZPass.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Loudoun Aims to Make Most of Stimulus

Loudoun Aims to Make Most of Stimulus
County Lines Up Possible Projects
By Kafia A. Hosh

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Loudoun County officials are combing through the $787 billion federal stimulus package signed into law last week to see what public infrastructure projects in the county might be eligible.

The county's share of the school and transportation funds in the package remains unclear because the rules for distributing the money to localities have not been finalized, Loudoun officials said.

The rules for energy-saving projects are known, and officials are hopeful that Loudoun will get at least $1 million of that aid. The county can apply directly to the federal government for a share of a $3.2 billion energy efficiency and conservation block grant. Some of the grant money is set aside for the 10 most populous localities in each state, a category that includes Loudoun.

A Feb. 11 county staff report based on the House version of the stimulus package, which allocated $3.5 billion for the energy program, estimated Loudoun's share at $1.6 million.

In a wish list for federal stimulus funds that the Board of Supervisors approved last month, Loudoun identified $1.1 million in energy upgrades to the Claude Moore Recreation Center in Sterling and to the county government building, county courthouse, fire and rescue training center, the Shenandoah Building and the Department of Information Technology headquarters, all in Leesburg.

The improvements to the buildings would include energy-efficient lighting, water conservation measures and better insulation of windows and doors. The upgrades would lower the county government's utility bills by about $143,000 a year, according to a report from the board's Energy and Environment Committee.

The federal block grant program was established in 2007 but received no funding at the time. Climate Communities, a national coalition of local governments that includes Loudoun, had lobbied Congress to provide money.

"We're really very happy that the $3.2 billion was put into this program, and we've been preparing for it in the hopes that it would actually come through," said Supervisor Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac), who heads the Energy and Environment Committee.

County officials are hopeful that the details they have compiled on how they would use the funds will boost their chances of getting aid.

The committee report shows that "we have some very good uses for these monies," said Diane O'Grady, staff liaison to the committee. "We're ready with projects that have been well thought-out, that have been well researched."

The wish list approved by supervisors last month totaled $744 million and included many road and school construction projects, such as $91.2 million to widen Route 659 between Route 7 and the Dulles Greenway, $83 million to build Tuscarora High School and $70.6 million to build Woodgrove High School.

County staff members said they expect to have enough information by next month to brief supervisors on which projects are likely to receive federal stimulus funds.

"We're trying to align our wish list with what may be available," said Assistant County Administrator John Sandy. "We're going to dust off our project list and see if any of that stuff lines up."

State and local governments in Virginia are expecting to get about $4 billion from the stimulus package. Education-related aid will most likely be allocated through the state and include some funding for school construction, Sandy said.

"That's one of the things that we have to basically look into, to determine how the monies are going to be arrayed," Sandy said. "We're going to work with the state."

Loudoun's share of transportation aid will depend on whether the money goes through the state or is distributed directly to regional planning districts, Sandy said, adding that Loudoun might fare better with the latter arrangement.

"We might be able to be a little more competitive [in Northern Virginia] as opposed to the state," he said.

Copyright 2009 The Washington Post Company

Richmond International Airport saw fewer fliers last year due to economy

By Peter Bacque

Published: February 23, 2009

Jon Mathiasen has had to make some tough decisions in recent months.

As the top executive at Richmond International Airport, he's cut employment 10 percent to 13 percent, clamped down on overtime and restricted purchases.

He even dropped the catered rolls and coffee for the monthly airport commission meetings.

"Traffic's down," he said. "And when traffic's down, it affects all of our sources of revenue."

The cutbacks come as Richmond International Airport -- and most of Virginia's eight other commercial airports -- face declining passenger traffic and revenue.

Richmond travelers have benefited from the fare competition produced by RIC's low-cost carriers, AirTran Airways and JetBlue Airways. But airport officials worry that Richmond-area passengers are not buying enough tickets on those airlines, putting their service in jeopardy.

Despite the downturn in travelers and income, Richmond International Airport -- with nine airlines providing 190 flights a day -- is still planning and building for expansion.

Work is under way, for instance, on a 2,600-vehicle space, $40million expansion of its north parking garage. A master plan calls for more runway capacity, terminal space and parking facilities to accommodate more growth.

The average passenger traffic among the state's nine commercial airports fell about 5 percent in 2008 compared with 2007.

Richmond's airport traffic declined 4 percent last year, to nearly 3.5 million passengers.

Roanoke's airport had the biggest decline among the state's airports, with passenger traffic falling 10.1 percent last year compared with 2007.

"The airline world goes as the economy goes," explained Keith McCrea, the Virginia Department of Aviation's air service and policy manager. "It's going to be directly tied to the level of economic activity that's driving the market."

When passenger traffic is down, an airport's income drops. "Passengers are the lifeblood of the airport," Mathiasen said.

Richmond expects to confront at least two years of recession-depressed traffic, Mathiasen said, before its traffic begins to grow again at about 5 percent a year.

. . .

Since airports like Richmond are overwhelmingly self-supporting for their operations -- no local tax dollars go to RIC -- airport executives have had to take steps to trim their budgets.

Richmond International had budgeted operating revenue of $42.4 million for the fiscal year that ends in June.

"We're not going to meet that," Mathiasen said. "Our net income is going to be off about 7 percent."

The slowdown at airports also is impacting those companies serving the traveling public.

Groome Transportation, which provides limo service to about 100,000 customers annually at Richmond International, saw a nearly 12 percent decline in its business last year, according to Vince Groome, the company's president. However, Groome said, "our business [profitability] is fine because we're managing our overhead" by cutting staff and equipment.

. . .

After AirTran came to Richmond International in 2005 and JetBlue entered the Richmond market in 2006, passenger traffic increased by 46 percent while average fares fell almost by half, airport officials said.

The discount carriers' competition helps keep fares in check, Mathiasen said.

But for JetBlue and AirTran, Mathiasen said, their riderships from Richmond are among the lowest of the cities that the two low-cost carriers serve.

In the use-it-or-lose-it airline world, every Richmond flight by the low-cost carriers needs to carry 12 to 15 more travelers, he said, in order to bring their passenger loads up to those airlines' system averages.

"Once a carrier leaves," Mathiasen said, "it could be a decade-long battle -- or longer -- to have a chance to woo [a low-cost carrier] back."

Keeping airfares down is incredibly important for the capital region's businesses, said Kim Scheeler, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Richmond Chamber.

Scheeler has joined Mathiasen in meeting with executives from the area's larger companies and urging them to consider all RIC's airlines when they book their corporate travel.

"It's really easy for companies to get locked into flying on XYZ Airlines all the time."

AirTran's Cynthia Tinsley-Douglas seconded that idea: "Continued support from the business community is critical for our success and our ability to increase RIC service."

Richmond's air service will probably hold up better than other locations in the country, said George Hoffer, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies the transportation industry. "I don't think we'd be in imminent danger of losing the low-cost carriers," Hoffer said, "because there are not many places where you have a better use for the airplanes."

. . .

Virginia's two largest fields, Washington Dulles International and Reagan Washington National airports, are critical nodes in the national airline system.

Dulles alone handles more than 800 domestic and international flights a day. Reflecting that large traffic volume, Dulles recently opened a $355 million runway, and plans call for a fifth runway at the Northern Virginia field.

Because it is one of the nation's largest hub airports, making sure Dulles has the capacity to handle more takeoffs and landings helps the closely intertwined national airspace system avoid traffic jams that can cause delays that ripple across the country.

Each airports' traffic was down 3.5 percent from their 2007 levels.

"The Washington airports suffered some capacity cutbacks," McCrea said, "but the service is so extensive up there you don't notice it."

. . .

Virginia's smaller commercial airports struggle to hold on to their markets, which frequently overlap with other airports.

"We are smaller than our neighbors on either side of us," said Jessica Wharton with Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, which experienced a passenger decline of 1 percent.

Yet Shenandoah Valley Airport, located between Harrisonburg and Staunton, saw its passenger traffic balloon 64 percent, from 9,200 passengers a year to 15,100.

The large increase sprang from simply replacing the 19-passenger aircraft on Shenandoah Valley's three daily flights to Dulles Airport with planes seating 34 passengers.

Norfolk International is comparable in size and service to Richmond's airport. And both have benefited from service by low-cost carriers, McCrea noted. Southwest Airlines serves Norfolk.

Wayne Shank, deputy executive director of the Norfolk Airport Authority, said an airport has little ability to influence the number of passengers using its facilities.

"A lot of it is outside our control," he said.

Even with fly-the-airport advertising campaigns, Shank said, "There's only so much you can do in an economic downturn."

Virginia eyes closing 25 rest stops

Virginia eyes closing 25 rest stops

By Jill Dunn

Virginia’s transportation department is considering closing 25 of its 41 rest stops as part of a plan to cope with a projected $2.6 billion shortfall.

The Virginia Department of Transportation presented this action as part of its “Blueprint for the Future” at the Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting outlining cuts to be made over the next six years.

VDOT will lay off 450 hourly employees statewide next month as its first step of cutting staffing costs and will continue staff reduction through 2010.

The department will hold meetings in March to obtain feedback on the proposed cuts before the CTB makes final plan decisions in June, said Jeff Caldwell, VDOT communications chief.

Department officials selected the rest stops to be closed based on age, condition, visitor count, available services, relationship to tourism and number of truck stops nearby. One rest area that will remain open is on Interstate 64 because it is the only rest stop between Richmond and Virginia Beach, Caldwell said.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Here's a plan that will really stimulate Virginia's economy

Here's a plan that will really stimulate Virginia's economy
February 22, 2009

Without a doubt, the economy and the subsequent decrease in available revenues are the most pressing problems facing all levels of government. The recent report from Virginia's Department of Planning and Budget indicates that the already reduced state revenues of $3.2 billion over the past three years will be reduced again by as much as another 15 percent or approximately another $400 million to $500 million.

The federal government's "stimulus" plan will more than likely provide Virginia with the revenue to restore the hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid, public education and higher education reductions already proposed by Gov. Tim Kaine.

It is also very possible that the federal stimulus funding for Virginia will offset the additional decrease in revenues which will be announced by Kaine.

Unfortunately, this federal stimulus funding is short-term at best, because the federal plan does little to stimulate the economy or create new private-sector jobs for American workers.

Because this economic downturn was predictable for the past several years, the Virginia General Assembly has passed several comprehensive economic stimulus initiatives that focus on improving the public infrastructure and creating incentives for job creation within the private sector.

In 2007, the General Assembly passed legislation that provided for $3 billion in bonds over 10 years for transportation construction. The General Assembly also increased the vehicle registration fee and the diesel fuel per-gallon tax and dedicated one-third of the insurance premiums tax to the Transportation Trust Fund.

This additional revenue provides more funding to address improvements to the transportation infrastructure. More specifically, this legislation also provided significant funding to improve rail transportation from the ports in Hampton Roads to connections with the Heartland Corridor, which is a major transportation artery for the transport of goods across America.

In 2008, the higher education bond package provided $2.6 billion for capital projects at Virginia's colleges and universities and other state facilities. Legislation also passed that authorized up to $350.5 million in revenue-producing projects at certain institutions of higher education.

So far during the 2009 session, the House and Senate have passed the Advanced Shipbuilding Performance Grants program. The House has passed legislation to extend the major business facilities job tax credit until 2020 and approved legislation that authorizes the Virginia Public Building Authority and the Virginia Resources Authority to finance economic development initiatives for major employment and investment projects performed by state and local government entities.

In each instance, these initiatives provide a real incentive to private business and industry for high-impact regional economic development projects in which the private entity makes a significant capital investment, creates hundreds of new, full-time jobs, and is expected to have a substantial direct economic impact on surrounding communities.

In addition, the House budget included $3 million more to promote tourism, $12.5 million for detailed planning to accelerate five major capital projects on various public college campuses, and $1.5 million for work-force development. The House has also taken the lead in funding the Virginia Coastal Research Energy Consortium that is working on alternative energy sources from wind, waves and biomass.

Rather than just talk about the need for an economic stimulus, the General Assembly has been proactive in creating an environment that clearly says, "Virginia is Open for Business."

Ranked as the "Best Managed" state in the nation and the best place to raise and educate a child, the commonwealth has a solid record for working to actually stimulate the Virginia economy without increasing government spending that does little more than create more public-sector jobs.

As a right-to-work state with responsible tax and regulatory policies, Virginia is poised to weather this economic downturn for both the short- and long-term benefit of the commonwealth.

Hamilton, who represents the 93rd District in the House of Delegates, is vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a member of the conference committee that will resolve differences between the House and Senate budgets.

Vote to Forgo I-66 Expansion Imperils Federal Funds, Increases Ire

Vote to Forgo I-66 Expansion Imperils Federal Funds, Increases Ire

By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 20, 2009; B03

The decision this week to abandon plans to widen Interstate 66 inside the Capitol Beltway inflamed tensions between transit-friendly inner jurisdictions and auto-dependent outer counties and jeopardized $30 million in federal funds.

The vote by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government's Transportation Planning Board caught many by surprise. The $75 million project was approved 23 to 4 in May 2007. The turnabout reflected perceived foot-dragging by the Virginia Department of Transportation on a study of all transportation alternatives in the I-66 corridor, board members and staff said.

Chris Zimmerman, an Arlington County Board member who serves on the transportation panel, made the motion to table the project after a VDOT official said the full study was unfunded and would take at least three to four years to complete.

"It was, 'Oh, that's not funded?' That offended a lot of people. . . . Then what are we doing here? It indicated a certain amount of contempt for the process that took a lot of people by surprise," Zimmerman said.

The I-66 project would connect a series of acceleration and deceleration lanes, effectively widening the westbound road from two to three lanes between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street and expanding it between Washington Boulevard and the Dulles Airport Access Road from three lanes to four.

The first phase of the widening, a 1.5-mile stretch from Fairfax Drive to Sycamore, was scheduled to start next year. State transportation officials said the project would be delayed at least three to four years, the amount of time it would take to do a full environmental assessment of the corridor. Only $1.5 million of the estimated $15 million cost of the study is funded. VDOT officials said the project was never contingent on a full-blown study.

Now, Virginia officials are scrambling to save the project and a $30 million federal earmark sponsored by Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and former representative Tom Davis (R). Expanding I-66 has long been opposed by Arlington leaders and transit advocates, who say a wider road would bring more traffic and pollution to their community. The idea of widening I-66 inside the Beltway has been discussed since the 10-mile stretch of the interstate opened in 1982. At the time, Arlington officials agreed to its construction in exchange for certain promises, including a four-lane limit.

"It's being rammed down our throats by Congressman Wolf, and it isn't even his district," said Peter Harnik, who lives in the Maywood section of Arlington. "We need to be wiser, not wider."

Project supporters say I-66 has become a regional choke point. Widening it would improve traffic for commuters heading west in the evening and for drivers heading to the Dulles corridor in the morning. They said the additional lane would provide a better evacuation route during an emergency.

"This is the same old, same old from Arlington," said Dan Scandling, a spokesman for Wolf. "Anything they can do to jam up this project, they will. You've got $30 million sitting on the table to improve transportation in Virginia. And there is already mass transit in the corridor, and no homes will be taken."

But the swing votes during Wednesday's meeting turned out to be Fairfax County's. Both of Fairfax's representatives on the panel, county supervisors Catherine M. Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill) and Linda Q. Smyth (D-Providence), voted against the project and for Zimmerman's amendment. If they had switched votes, the project would have proceeded.

The vote removed the I-66 project from the regional list of approved projects for next year's transportation improvement plan. The issue could be revisited as early as next month.

Va. Department of Transportation to cut 450 jobs

Va. Department of Transportation to cut 450 jobs


State highway officials said Thursday that they plan to give pink slips to 450 hourly employees next month, in addition to already announced cuts of 1,000 full-time transportation positions.

The staff reductions are part of a larger plan by the Virginia Department of Transportation that also may include reduced services on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry and the roadside assistance program in Hampton Roads.

The cutbacks are a few of the changes being considered to offset the projected $2.6 billion shortfall in state transportation revenue over the next six years.

Other proposals state highway officials are considering include closing 25 of the state's 41 rest areas, changing mowing

standards for grassy highway medians and consolidating some regional transportation residencies and equipment shops.

The proposed job cuts and service changes were detailed at the Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting Thursday.

State transportation officials will present those and other ideas at a series of public meetings scheduled in the coming months.

The service cuts, if adopted, would likely take effect in July.

"Motorist safety and emergency response continue to be VDOT's top priorities," state transportation department Commissioner David S. Ekern said in a written statement. "However, VDOT will be smaller and focused solely on core services and commitments."

Dwindling money for roads and the growing cost of construction have brought the state highway department to a crossroads. In response, the agency is transforming itself.

It will still build new roads, though future projects may increasingly be accomplished with the help of private companies or require tolls.

VDOT officials said their current work force of about 9,000 employees will be cut to about 7,500 by July 1, 2010.

Julian Walker, (804) 697-1564, julian.walker@pilotonline.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Passenger train’s chances improve, Newman says

By Ray Reed

Published: February 3, 2009

RICHMOND — Lynchburg’s chances of getting a new daily passenger train to Washington looked better Tuesday than they did last week, according to Sen. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg.

Newman said he had talked to other senators, including Sen. William Wampler, R-Bristol, about a move Wampler made recently that could block the train’s start until the state funds a train all the way to Bristol.

“I think we have had very good movement getting back on track, and I’m hopeful that we will be able to maintain the TransDominion Express on the Senate side” of the state budget-making process, Newman said.

The TransDominion Express is a long-studied concept for passenger rail service from Bristol to Rich-mond and Washington, but state rail officials say only part of it can be funded now.

About $17 million is available for a two-year pilot project to operate a new daily train from Lynchburg to Washington and another train from Richmond to Washington, starting next fall.

“I’m making sure we work with Senator Wampler and other legislators to get there,” Newman said.

Wampler also deserves credit for contributions he’s made in the past to get the TransDominion Express included in the statewide rail plan, Newman said.

“Senator Wampler is the great-grandfather of our TransDominion Express project,” Newman said.

“He has brought us from nothing to where we are today,” making sure $10 million in state funds were provided several years ago for planning the route.

“He kept the project alive” when people from Richmond and Tidewater tried to kill it in favor of “their own train,” Newman said.

Wampler’s budget amendment would block state funds for “construction of any segment of the Trans-Dominion Express” until “funding for all sections of the corridor from Bristol to Washington, D.C./Richmond is included within the Statewide Rail Plan.”

Del. Shannon Valentine, D-Lynchburg, said Tuesday that efforts were under way on several fronts to get plans for the TransDominion Express in shape for meetings of the Commonwealth Transportation Board Thursday and Feb. 19. That policy-making board would make the final decision on starting the train.

“There are many conversations taking place within the governor’s office,” the General Assembly and state transportation agencies, Valentine said.

The Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and other citizen groups have participated, Valentine said, and while Wampler’s budget amendment is one issue, other details are being worked on with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern Corp., which owns the tracks.

“The work to bring forward these two rail projects (Lynchburg to Washington and Richmond to Wash-ington) has been a true, cooperative effort on every level,” Valentine said.

Newman said he could understand Wampler’s concern about Bristol not being included in the initial funding for the passenger train.

“I’m going to be as committed as I can be to the Bristol portion if we get our part done,” Newman said.

Tax raised on hybrid cars; aircraft rate unchanged

The tax on hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles is going up.

The Board of Supervisors voted 7-2 Feb. 3 to raise the current rate on those vehicles from 1 cent per $100 assessed value to $1. The new rate is still $3.20 less than traditional auto owners pay in the county.

The penny tax rate was set to promote the purchase of more environmentally friendly transportation, said Supervisor Jim Burton (I-Blue Ridge).

“We don't need to incentivize these vehicles,” he said. “The market has taken care of that.”

Before the vote, Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) asked that the board consider raising the tax on alternative-fuel vehicles and hybrids to match that on regular cars.

Chairman Scott York (I-at large), who seconded Delgaudio's substitute motion, said the county is subsidizing people who are getting better mileage.

“That's not fair,” he said.

Delgaudio's motion failed.

The rate increase will generate about $600,000 a year, according to county staff.

The annual tax bill on a car assessed at $20,000 will increase from $2 a year to $200 a year. Those paying the $4.20 rate on a traditional $20,000 car pay $840 a year.


Meanwhile, the tax on aircraft housed in the county will stay the same.

The board on Feb. 3 voted 8-1, with Delgaudio against, to keep that rate unchanged.

During a board meeting in January, board members were visited by local airport officials and aviation enthusiasts, urging members not to raise the aircraft tax.

Tom Toth, of the Leesburg Airport Commission, quantified the potential loss of income if the tax was raised.

“We have at least $100 million in economic benefit between Leesburg and Dulles [airports],” Toth said. “All we need, at a quarter [tax rate], is 1 percent of the aircraft to leave, and we will totally negate what that 25 cents would bring in.”

Board members who voted for maintaining the tax rate agreed that the losses far outweighed the benefits to the tax base in this case.

Contact the reporter at hhobbs@timespapers.com
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