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An advisory group created to provide recommendations on the I-81 improvement plan is meeting for the first time Tuesday.

The group is required to meet four times each year in a planning district along the I-81 corridor and report back to Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly every December.

Earlier this year, Northam signed the $2 billion improvement plan into law, which will provide funding for several projects along the I-81 corridor. To meet the total funding needs, the legislation included a gas tax increase, but only when driving in planning districts that are along the corridor.

The plan increased taxes by seven-cents-per-gallon in the five planning districts and included a tax hike on diesel and a registration fee hike for trucks. The state expects to bring in $151 million in the first year of the tax increase and $280 million annually by 2022. It received support from most Democrats, but a handful of Republicans helped the bill pass both chambers.

There will be 15 voting members and two non-voting members in the committee. Seven lawmakers, three Commonwealth Transportation Board members and five chairs from the planning district commissions. The non-voting members who will discuss recommendations with the committee will be the commissioner for the Virginia Department of Transportation and the director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation.

The meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at 401 E Nelson St., Lexington, VA 24450 in a Hampton Inn. It will be open to the public.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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