The fight over Virginia's historic reform over the way the Commonwealth funds transportation is not over quite yet.
Governor Bob McDonnell still needs to sign the bill into law and has indicated he plans to review the bill thoroughly and offer any amendments he believes may be necessary before its final passage. The bill the governor proposed and the one that ultimately made it out of the General Assembly are pretty different.
The Governor also has the power to line-item veto aspects of the plan he may not agree with and two Northern Virginia Democrats, who did not support that the measure, are making a last ditch effort to convince him to drop the controversial $100 fee that will be charged to drivers of hybrid vehicles.
The petition can be found on the web site NoHybridTax.com.
McDonnell was the one who originally proposed the hybrid car fee back in January. Through all the different drafts of the plan, the hybrid fee was one thing that survived. The argument the administration has used in favor of the tax is that it is necessary because hybrid car owners pay less in gas tax because they use less gas, but still use the same amount of road. While Virginia is dropping the retail gas tax, a new tax has been created at the wholesale level, which will undoubtedly be passed on to the driver.
Opponents of the tax argue that the use of hybrid cars offer plenty of benefits to society at large. In addition to the reduction in the impact on the environment, they also require less use of foreign produced oil. They claim that requiring an additional cost to hybrid drivers is irresponsible and also counter productive to the goals of a clean energy society where we rely less on fossil fuels.
Right now, Surovell and Ebbin are in the process of getting some of their fellow legislators to sign on to the plan. As it stands right now, no Republicans have come out in support of their effort. However they are soliciting that support based on the fact that many Republicans did vote against the transportation plan.
Meanwhile the Governor's office welcomed the opportunity for citzens to weigh in on the transportation plan.
"We are reviewing the transportation bill as passed and appreciate any and all input on the legislation and its provisions," said McDonnell Spokesman Tucker Martin.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Today on NBC12 First at 4, we will talk live with one of the architects of this petition, Sen. Adam Ebbin. His interview can be seen on NBC12-TV and will be streaming live on NBC12.com at 4pm.
We also post the full interview later on DecisionVirginia.com
UPDATE: Our interview with Sen. Ebbin can be found below:
*One note of clarification from our interview with Sen. Ebbin. He cites a statistic that hybrid car owners pay only $35 less a year in gas, he meant $35 less in gas "tax".