Gas tax clears first hurdle

Published 2:09 am Saturday, March 9, 2019

House overwhelmingly OKs proposed bill, 83-20

Gov. Kay Ivey called Friday a great day after the Alabama House of Representatives a three-bill package that will increase gas taxes, allow the state to bond issue to jumpstart highway construction, and add transparency to the state Department of Transportation.

Earlier this week, Ivey called the legislature into special session – a tactical move that limits the issues the legislature can address  – to consider the legislation.

“Y’all this is a great day,” she said at a press conference after the vote. “You look at the members of the vote, and you’re going to see for the first time in a long time what a bipartisan effort can do to bring success to the people of Alabama,”

House members voted 83-20 for the main bill in the package, which increases fuel taxes 10 cents a gallon over the next three years. Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, voted with the majority.

The Business Council of Alabama is among the groups that have endorsed the bill.

“The Alabama House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly to do the right thing so that our future generations can continue to prosper and continue to be competitive as we work to recruit others to come live and work in Alabama,” said Katie Boyd Britt, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama. “This was a bipartisan effort, and I commend Governor Kay Ivey, Speaker Mac McCutcheon, Rep. Bill Poole, and House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels for their leadership on this critical issue. This is responsible and transparent legislation that paves the road to our future.”

The state Republican Party opposes the bill.

The 10-cent increase would generate an estimated $320 million a year that would go into a new Rebuild Alabama Fund that would be distributed to the Alabama Department of Transportation (67 percent), counties (25 percent) and municipalities (8 percent).

The proposed gas tax bill now moves to the Senate. If approved, it will be the first increase in state fuel taxes since 1992.