The Virginia Senate has passed a bill authorizing local governments to increase their local sales tax to fund school construction projects if voters approve the hike in a referendum. It is seen as an option localities can use if their voters agree to it. The money would be earmarked for new renovations or new schools. Under the bill, local governments would only be able to impose the 1% sales tax if voters approved the increase in a referendum. Currently, state law only allows nine localities — the counties of Charlotte, Gloucester, Halifax, Henry, Mecklenburg, Northampton, Patrick and Pittsylvania and the city of Danville — to impose a 1% sales tax to fund school construction and renovation projects. According to a survey conducted by the Virginia Department of Education, over half of Virginia’s schools are more than 50 years old, with replacement costs for each in the millions.