A hike in the jet fuel tax charged on large, commercial airline flights at airports across Virginia would be earmarked for Northern Virginia’s Metro system and the Dulles Toll Road, under the provisions of legislation introduced by Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Dale City).
HB1703, filed by the Democratic lawmaker from Prince William County, would increase the rate of jet fuel tax at all airports across the Commonwealth by five cents per gallon, for airlines with more than eight billion passenger miles originated at an airport in Virginia.
Revenue from the tax increase would be earmarked for Phase 2 of the Silver Line Metrorail expansion to Dulles Airport, located in Fairfax and Loudoun counties, as well as the Dulles Toll Road, which runs from Loudoun County to Tysons Corner.
The $5.8 billion rail project has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, leaving lawmakers scrambling for new revenue streams to finance construction, as WMATA, the agency which oversees the system, remains embroiled in financial difficulties.
Back in September, inspectors discovered hundreds of defective concrete rail ties whose flaws could leave tracks tilted as trains go around corners, according to a December report from the Washington Post, which noted that contractors and state officials still had not agreed on a fix.
The contractor responsible was previously implicated in cracked support girders and concrete panels, which a whistleblower’s lawsuit claimed were fabricated from substandard materials and covered up with falsified test results.
Tax revenues would also be allocated towards toll reduction on the Dulles Toll Road, under the provisions of the bill.
Airline ticket costs are considered highly sensitive to the cost of fuel, which is passed along to passengers when oil prices and taxes rise.
Guzman’s bill will be heard by lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session, which convenes on Wednesday in Richmond.