Ivey unveils gas tax plan, supports 10-cent per gallon increase over 3 years

Published 9:58 am Thursday, February 28, 2019

Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday called for a 10-cent gas tax increase to fund repairs to the state’s infrastructure and Covington County Commission Chairman Greg White said that the governor’s support will get the proposal passed.

“The commission has not looked at the proposed law yet,” White said. “But speaking for myself, I still support the increase.”

Previous attempts to increase the gas tax to improve the state’s infrastructure never gained the supported needed to pass the legislature.

“I think with the governor’s leadership, it has a great chance of passing,” White said. “It has been since 1992 since there was an increase in the gas tax, so I am hopeful that the legislative leadership sees the need and as I have heard, the leadership has expressed their support.”

Ivey, who announced the package in rural Chilton County on Wednesday, said the state’s roads and bridges were increasing vehicle maintenance costs and harming the state’s ability to attract business.

“The fact is Alabama must absolutely must address this problem,” Ivey said, “To be successful we must tackle it together. We need to be all in on this. It’s time to make our crumbling infrastructure a problem of our past.”

Twenty-five percent of the proposed 10-cent increase would go to counties in the state and White said that that number would be close to where the county tried to raise the gas tax two years ago.

“That 25 percent of the 10-cent increase would be pretty close to the earlier proposals,” White said. “Previously, the local increase would have been three cents, with a portion of that going to the cities. My understanding is that 25 percent of 10 cents is two and a half, so it would be pretty close to where what we were proposing a couple of years ago.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, would increase the state’s 18-cent per gallon levy to 28 cents over the next three years. The tax would go up 6 cents in 2019: 2 cents in 2020 and 2 cents in 2021. Future increases would be tied to a national index tracking construction costs, but Ivey said the tax would never increase more than 1 cent a year after 2021.

The new allocation is expected to generate $320 million a year when fully implemented, then go up according to the index. Apart from an annual $10 million allocation to the Port of Mobile, all the money generated would go to road and bridge projects.

The state’s current 18-cent gas tax, a combination of three separate levies, was last raised in 1992.

White said that both regular gas and diesel tax with both see the 10-cent increase and that could help Covington County roads as well.

The money will be dispersed in the state 55 percent by population and 45 percent equally per county, White said.

“Population is weighted heavily in the distribution,” White said. “Which should satisfy higher populated areas.”

The Alabama Republican Party’s executive committee went on record this past weekend in opposition to the proposal.