The Alabama legislature is looking to raise the gas tax for the first time since 1992. The Joint Transportation Committee hosted a hearing in Mobile today to discuss the possibility.
The current cost of gas is down. Way down. $1.60 is good for everyone’s pocket but what if you added 12 cents to each gallon of gas you bought?
That’s what legislators met to discuss today. The price of gas is low which is why Representative Mac McCutcheon say he chose now to propose this increase, “Now it has gotten to the point that now is a good time because of the price of the fuel and the savings that the motorists are getting.”
It was argued that an increase in gas tax is crucial to funding the repairs of Alabama’s crumbling infrastructure and for building new and improved roadways and bridges. Volken CEO, Tommy Lee, cited several statistics that point out just how much Alabama’s roads need fixing. According to Lee, 50% of all roads in Alabama are listed as being in fair, poor, or very poor condition. He also stated that seven projects in Mobile County and eight in surrounding counties have had to be halted due to lack of funds to support them.
State Senators who were at the hearing expressed divided views. State Senator Rusty Glover is opposed to the tax and says that there is money elsewhere that could be used to fund these projects, “The last two or three years or more there’s been an enormous amount of money that’s been raised through taxes that’s supposed to go to roads and bridges but is instead being diverted to general fund agencies.”
State Senator Trip Pittman says that he is in favor of a smaller tax to fund infrastructure but says that his constituents were not in favor of it, “Most of them at this point are against it or have some serious concerns based on the overall environment that’s out there. There’s a lack of the trust for the people that have been elected to office.”
Senator Mac McCutcheon says that a piece of legislation is currently in the works. Today marked the third of five state hearings the committee is hosting. The committee says they are holding these hearings in order to gauge public opinion of the tax hike and for locals to express the infrastructure challenges they’re facing in their areas.
He said that any gas tax would involve a portion that comes back to the local areas to assist with their infrastructure problems.