Cuccinelli: Part of Virginia's Transportation Funding Bill Is Unconstitutional

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has determined that a portion of the General Assembly's state's transportation funding bill goes against the state constitution.

The ruling was released Friday evening in response to a request for an opinion last month from Prince William County Delegate Bob Marshall, a critic of the measure.

The ruling says in short: Under Virginia's constitution, the General Assembly can't impose different taxes in different localities of the state.

The bill approved by lawmakers would hike four specific taxes only in Northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads area. The revenue raised would stay in those regions and would be used to deal with congestion there.

Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th District), who represents portions of Prince William and Loudoun counties, said in a release Friday that he supports Cuccinell's ruling.

"I am thrilled with the attorney general's opinion with regard to the unconstitutional taxes in HB 2313," he said in the release. "Isolating Northern Virginia and Tidewater residents to place an additional tax burden on those citizens who already pay more to Richmond in taxes than they get back is unconscionable."

The attorney general's ruling does not mean the entire bill is unconstitutional, just the portion imposing higher taxes in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. The opinion also suggests there is a way to fix the legislation, by adopting objective measures for deciding which localities can hike taxes for transportation.

Governor Bob McDonnell has until Monday to sign or amend the bill, reports News4 Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey.

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