How Much Have We Lost?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Weekly Column: Yellow Line Petition, Hybrid Tax Refunds & I-495 Changes

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of May 12, 2014.

Yellow Line Petition, Hybrid Tax Refunds & I-495 Changes 
Last week, I wrote about the status of some transportation projects in our community.  Here are a few more important things. 
Sign the Yellow Line/Hybrid Option Extension PetitionThe state’s consultants are busy crunching numbers, population projections and funding options and evaluating community input to prepare recommendations on the  mode of transit we should have on U.S. 1 for the next 20 years.  I strongly believe that the “Hybrid Option” or the two-stop Yellow Line Extension with stations at Beacon Hill and Hybla Valley with dedicated bus rapid transit to Woodbridge is the best option.  Having Metro on U.S. 1 will help revitalize the corridor, generate economic development, and enhance the environment, our schools, and  our quality of life  in the Mount Vernon and Lee areas.
I have set up a petition for people to sign, show  support and comment on why the Hybrid Option is the best option.  Over 400 people have already signed, in addition to the 400 who indicated support for a Yellow Line Extension on my 2014 constituent survey.  Please go online and sign my petition at www.bit.ly/route1petition.   
Get your family and neighbors to sign - It will take you less than a minute.  We need to show strong community support!

I-495/U.S. 1 Express Lane Merge ChangesOne of my constituents complained to me about the short merging space for traffic moving onto the Beltway/I-495 Express Lanes from northbound U.S. 1.   Right now, there are only about 100 yards to merge from the exit into the left hand lane, a place where cars are coming out of Maryland, usually traveling at over 70 miles per hour.   After all, they are the “express” lanes.
I submitted a request to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) who agreed and in the next few months, VDOT plans to substantially lengthen the merge.  This will make the merge for Mount Vernon residents much safer.  
On July 1, some important new laws affecting vehicles will also go into effect.
Hybrid Tax RepealSenator Adam Ebbin and I made eliminating the hybrid tax a priority and succeeded in persuading the General Assembly to repeal it.  The repeal will go into effect on July 1, 2014 and customers who have pre-paid to register their hybrid vehicles for multiple years will be entitled to a refund for the pre-paid registration years that begin on July 1, 2014.
Individuals whose registration expires prior to July 1, 2014, but who do not renew their registration until after that date, will still owe the $64. 
I will post more information describing the refund process by July 1, 2014. 
Birth CertificatesEffective March 1, 2014, you can obtain an official copy of your Virginia birth certificate at a DMV branch, instead of going to Richmond.  
Moped RegistrationOn July 1, 2014, all mopeds operating on the public roads must be titled, registered and carry license plates. More information is available at the DMV website: http://dmvnow.com/vehicles/#moped.html.  Please take steps soon so your youngster is not stopped by the police (I voted against this by the way).

Vehicle Sales Tax Increase

Beginning July 1, 2014, the sales and use tax (SUT) on vehicles will increase from 4 percent to 4.05 percent. This increase is part of a larger transportation funding bill that the General Assembly adopted last year.  This tax will gradually increase to 4.15 percent by 2016. The minimum SUT remains $75.  As with the previous incremental increase, the date of the sale determines the tax owed, for vehicles purchased in Virginia. 
Vehicle Inspection for Active Duty MilitaryEffective July 1, 2014, active military members residing in Virginia who return from an official absence will have 14 calendar days to obtain a current vehicle safety inspection sticker. Currently, updated vehicle inspection stickers are due within 5 five business days. 
It is an honor to serve as your state delegate.  Please email me at scottsurovell@gmail.com and share your views and suggestions. 

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