• 82°

Fuel tax expected to generate $1.18 million in local community

The new fuel tax passed during the legislative session is expected to generate $1.18 million in the local community.

DeAnn Grantham, principal engineer for Southern Engineering solutions, spoke at Andalusia Rotary Club Tuesday about the tax and what it means for local communities.

Dubbed the Rebuild Alabama Act, the bill, was designed to improve Alabama’s ailing roads and bridges.

Currently, Alabama ranks 29th highest for bridges in poor condition.

Some 8,000 of the states bridges need repair.

“School buses travel over these,” she said.

It is estimated that Alabama’s roads and bridge problems cost taxpayers some $5.3 million each year.

Traffic accidents in Alabama are higher than the national average and on rural roads it’s even worse.

Starting Aug. 31, motorists purchasing fuel in Alabama will pay 6 cents more per gallon.

An additional 2 cents will be added on Oct. 1, 2020 and another 2 cents on Oct. 1, 2021.

Additionally, vehicle owners will see additional fees when they purchase tags.

It will cost $13 more for vehicles per year; $7 more for motorcycles; $200 more per year for battery electric car and $100 more for hybrid plug-in vehicles.

Grantham said the law specifically dictates how the money may be spent.

It must be used to maintain, replace or improve roads and bridges.

It can be used for projects or some may be applied to annual debt for bridge and roads such as bonds.

Funds cannot be used for salaries or benefits and equipment leases.

Some 66.67 percent of the total funding collected through the new tax will go to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

There are several programs that ALDOT will be using the money for to help aid the state.

  • Congestion relief program. Grantham said she believed the program would be used for projects such as helping with the congestion issues along I-65 from Montgomery to Birmingham.
  • Economic development and roads program. Priority will be given to economically under-served areas to add new roads for economic development.
  • System preservation.
  • Annual grant program. This is the biggest opportunity for local governments. No less than $10 million will be on the table for roads and bridge projects for counties and municipalities.

The first round application process will start Sept. 2019.

  • ATRIP phase II will offer some $20 million – $50 million in funding.

 

Local breakdown

Commission: $851K

Andalusia: $73K

Babbie: $17K

Carolina: $15K

Florala: $27K

Gantt: $15K

Heath: $15K

Horn Hill: $15K

Libertyville: $14K

Lockhart: $17K

Onycha: $15K

Opp: $58K

Red Level: $17K

River Falls: $17K

Sanford: $15K