Noting that Alabama has not passed a state gas tax since 1992, newly-elected Gov. Kay Ivey, House Speaker Mac McCutheon and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh say that improving and adding capacity to the states roads and bridges is a top priority, says a report in al.com.
“We’ve talked about this for three years,” McCutcheon tells the news site. “The traffic congestion on our major arteries is getting to the point that it’s holding up travel times. So at the end of the day, we’ve got to address this.”
The state added a nickel-a-gallon increase in 1992. A 2017 failed attempt would have increased state gas taxes by 4 cents in 2017, 2 cents in 2019 and an additional 3 cents in 2024.
It’s still undetermined how much of a gas tax increase would be called for in the new proposal, which will likely be introduced in March.
According to a 2017 The Road Improvement Program report, poor road and bridge conditions in the state cost drivers in the state 4.2 billion annually in costs related to vehicle operation, safety and congestion.
The report said that 19 percent of major urban roads are in poor condition in the state, with 8 percent of the bridges rates as structurally deficient. TRIP said total vehicle operating costs for the state amount to $1.5 billion each year, followed by safety issue costs reaching $1.5 billion and congestion expenses at $1.2 billion.
“We’ve got serious infrastructure concerns,” Marsh tells al.com. “We’ve got 400 bridges of the state slated for repair or replacement. We’ve got major highways that need repair right now. All we’re able to do is just basically a repaving program.
“And we’ve got to ask ourselves as a state, if we’re going to compete in this economy, we’ve got to have a decent infrastructure.”