New Hampshire increases fuel taxes to fund road projects

Updated Apr 30, 2014

NHcapitol-900x600The New Hampshire House last week passed a bill that would increase the state’s fuel taxes on gas and diesel by 4.2 cents per gallon, the Concord Monitor reports.

The bill is now headed to Gov. Maggie Hassan, who said she intends to sign it.

“I look forward to signing this bipartisan legislation into law so we can keep New Hampshire’s economy moving forward by advancing critical road and bridge projects and finishing the long-overdue expansion of I-93,” Hassan said in a statement.

The bill is set to take effect July 1 and will raise the state’s fuel tax from 18 cents per gallon to 22.2 cents per gallon, representing the first gas tax hike in New Hampshire in 23 years.

The tax is expected to bring in $32 million each year, which will be used to repair state and local roads and bridges.

The report notes that the bill divvies up the funding between specific projects:

  • 42 percent will go toward bonding to widen a portion of interstate 93
  • 33 percent will be used for local road and bridge repairs
  • 25 percent will be used to repair secondary state roads in fiscal years 2015 and 2016

Legislators will repeal the gas tax increase in 20 years, or when bonding for the I-93 widening project has been paid off.

In addition to increasing the gas tax, the bill removes the toll at Exit 12 on the Everett Turnpike and creates a commission to study the efficiency of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, according to the report.

The report notes that the bill’s critics argue that the state isn’t using making the best use of current highway funding.

According to the report, state law requires 68.5 percent of money in the highway fund to go to NHDOT and up to 30 to go to the state Department of Safety. However, lawmakers have sent more money to the Safety Department and other agencies in recent years.

Several states have either increased fuel taxes or introduced legislation to do so in order to provide more funding for transportation and infrastructure projects. And many say the federal government should do so as well though there is differing opinion on how taxpayers would respond to such increases.

A Gallup poll last April found that two-thirds of Americans would say no to such increases, while another survey done in August by the Mineta Transportation Institute found the opposite: 67 percent of taxpayers surveyed said they support a 10-cent increase in which revenues would be spent to maintain streets, roads and highways.

Editor’s Note: Amanda Bayhi is the online editor of sister site Better Roads.