Councilman’s plan could increase taxes on ERC

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — WAVY.com brings you an exclusive look into a plan that could make Elizabeth River Crossings pay more revenue in taxes to the city of Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Councilman Bill Moody was driving under a toll gantry when he started thinking about the idea: “It was an epiphany … this equipment is expensive. Maybe we need to explore the possibility of levying a tax, either personal property or machine and tool tax.”

But the plan is still in the very beginning stages. Moody has the City Assessor looking into additional possible taxes that could be levied against the company, but the early report back from the Commissioner of Revenue is not terribly promising.

“Frankie Edmondson doesn’t seem to think [ERC] would fall under the machine and tool tax or the BPOL tax,” Moody said. “He also cited there might be some exemptions in the PPTA.”

When WAVY.com sent an inquiry about the idea to ERC, spokeswoman Leila Rice responded quickly.

“ERC does pay personal property tax in both Norfolk and Portsmouth on all of our vehicles … design build contractors pay property tax on their vehicles and construction equipment,” she said.

But Moody is still aggressively pursuing this new battle in the war against ERC.

“ERC shouldn’t get a buy. They shouldn’t get a pass, certainly not an E-ZPass,” he said. “We tax the cranes as we should at the port. We levy the personal property taxes on our citizens. Why shouldn’t ERC pay their tax?”

Moody also weighed in on the big headline after three regular business days of tolls on the Downtown and Midtown tunnels — the usual rush hour congestion is gone.

“It means a lot of people are boycotting the tunnel because they don’t want to pay the tolls,” he said.

However, it’s yet to be seen if drivers will end up reverting back to using the tunnels to avoid traffic congestion at the free alternatives: the High Rise Bridge, the Gilmerton Bridge, 464 and the Berkley Bridge.

Count on WAVY.com to keep you informed on the latest details of this story.

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