A 2007 Virginia transportation law allowed the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority to levy a big new tax to finance transportation projects not on those who actually use the roads, but on homeowners. As a result, a new “grantor’s tax” is now being levied on home sales, amounting to $2,000 on the sale of a typical (for Northern Virginia) $500,000 home.
This money raised from the tax is being systematically wasted. The Arlington Sun-Gazette reports that even a backer of the tax, the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, now laments the waste and concedes that “more than 25 percent of funding” is going to projects that will not significantly benefit transportation, including road-clogging “trolleys” in Arlington’s Columbia Pike, “parking garages” and “landscaping.”
I have a letter in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch urging the repeal of the regional grantor’s tax on homeowners. Earlier, I wrote about the tax in the Washington Examiner. The grant of taxing authority to the regional transportation authorities is being challenged as a violation of the state constitution in the Virginia Supreme Court.