Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Gas tax for roads remains priority for GOP-led Legislature

Mike Cason of writes that following the Alabama GOP’s recent successful election, Alabama’s Republican governor and the leaders of the Alabama House and Senate will promote a gas tax increase as part of a plan to upgrade roads, bridges and other infrastructure across the state.

Cason reported that Gov. Kay Ivey, House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh all agree that improving and adding capacity to the state’s highway system and replacing hundreds of bridges is at or near the top of their priorities.

“We’ve talked about this for three years,” McCutcheon told “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.”

Alabama has not increased its gasoline tax since 1992, when it added a nickel a gallon. Proponents of an increase say the money raised by the 18-cents per gallon state tax has lagged demands for road construction and maintenance.

A 2017 proposal to raise the tax by 4 cents a gallon that year, 2 cents in 2019 and 3 cents in 2024 failed to muster enough support for a vote on the House floor.

The federal gasoline tax, 18.4 cents per gallon, has not changed since 1993.

“It (the state tax) hasn’t changed in 26 years,” Marsh said. “We’ve got people driving more efficient cars, putting more miles on the road. And we’ve got serious infrastructure concerns. 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.”

Republicans added to their already dominant majorities in the House and Senate. They now hold 77 of 105 seats in the House and 27 of 35 in the Senate.

The new Legislature meets in an organizational session in January and begins the regular session in March.