Alabama House committee approves gas tax increase to fund transportation

Updated Mar 22, 2016

Filling-gas-tank_BWS1366Alabama could see a six-cent rise in the gas tax if a new bill approved by a state House committee moves forward.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported that the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee voted in favor of a bill that would raise the state’s gas tax from 18 cents per gallon to 24 cents per gallon.

The diesel fuel tax would also be increased by six cents. The funds raised would go toward road and bridge projects like these 50 most needed projects identified by TRIP.

The bill follows the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee holding a series of meetings across the state in order to discuss the possibility of a gas-tax increase and other transportation funding plans.

“We are facing issues with our infrastructure that will become a crisis if we don’t do something,” Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville) said.

The state hasn’t increased its gas tax since 1992, but the tax increase would be based on the averages of taxes in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The new bill would be adjusted in 2019, 2023 and 2027 based on regional averages for the surrounding states. However, the state Legislature would be able to vote to stop any adjustments.

The bill also includes a new $100 fee on electric and alternative fuel vehicles and a $150 fee on commercial vehicles.

Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Harris said that the $413.9 million brought in by the state’s gas tax in 2015 just isn’t enough.

“Alabama’s road and bridge needs vastly outweigh the revenue created by a funding system that hasn’t changed in almost 25 years,” Harris said. “While ALDOT isn’t leading this effort, we support and appreciate the members of the Legislature seeking to provide more funding.”

The dissenters of the bill said that the government should look for infrastructure funding elsewhere through cuts.

“I’m not in favor of the hardworking people of Alabama paying more taxes,” Rep. Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville) said. “This is a tax on everyone.”