Thursday, March 17, 2016

ATA supports bill that funds state roads and bridges with fuel tax increase

The Alabama Trucking Association has announced its support of a new state bill that seeks to fund Alabama’s roads and bridges with a fuel tax increase of 6 cents per gallon with indexing every four years as determined by surrounding state fuel taxes.

Rep. Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville) introduced House Bill 394, which seeks to provide much needed funding for Alabama bridges, roads and highways with increased taxes on both diesel and gasoline. A fact sheet on HB 334 is available here.

ATA officials have long been on record in supporting an increased fuel tax to shore up our roads and bridges. ATA president and CEO Frank Filgo said, “Having worked with House and Senate leadership, we believe this bill is as trucker friendly as possible, and meets our expectations.”

According to Filgo, the bill’s favorable points are:

  • Diesel and gasoline taxes are increased at the same rate;
  • Calls for a 6 cent per gallon increase which is the average of Alabama’s border states’ existing fuel taxes;
  • Allows for indexing in 2019, 2023, & 2027 but is capped at the average of Alabama’s border states’ tax rates;
  • Future local diesel and gasoline tax increases require a public referendum, &
  • All new revenue raised will go to “road and bridge construction”.

The legislation follows the Alabama State Senate’s approval of SB 180 – a bill introduced by Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) – which ensures that revenue generated by Rep. McCutcheon’s bill will be spent on roads and bridges.

Earlier this year, members of the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee and other state lawmakers hosted five regional meetings focused on Alabama’s transportation infrastructure. Hundreds of Alabamians shared their perspectives at the meetings, generating a statewide conversation and informing the legislative process.

“The Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure commends Rep. McCutcheon on his dedication to infrastructure funding and fully supports his bill,” said Jim Page, CEO of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure. “Based on the recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, we know that Alabama’s roads and bridges are nearly failing, and we are encouraged by positive progress towards rectifying the degrading condition of Alabama’s transportation systems.”

Based on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2015 Report Card for Alabama’s Infrastructure, Alabama’s roads received a grade of D+, and its bridges received a grade of C-. Many business owners across the state have spoken out and requested that legislators identify new strategies to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure.

“We’ve reached a point where Alabamians can no longer ignore the problems facing our roads and bridges,” said Page. “Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure members strongly encourage lawmakers in Alabama to support Rep. McCutcheon’s bill because it will help promote public safety, spark economic growth and improve quality of life.