Possible gas tax increase to support $1.2 billion bond

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 Last week county commissioners in Alabama voted to ask legislature to pass a 3-cent per gallon and diesel fuel tax increase.

This gas tax increase will go to fund a $1.2 billion bond to help fix road and bridge issues throughout the state. 

The new proposal will also levy an increase on tag fees for vehicles that use alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen, methanol, and biodiesel. 

“We think it is a really good program. We think it is one that has a lot of accountability,” said Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver. 

Some county commissioners including Culver are for the gas tax increase because they believe there are several roads throughout Houston County that desperately need attention.

“We have been talking for years about the issues we have here in Houston County. We even proposed a local gas tax last year. This resolves those issues and it does it at a statewide level,” said Culver. 

That local gas tax last year did not pass and this new plan would soon come after the the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP, which was launched a few years ago and has allowed counties to undertake hundreds of road and bridge projects.

“We are calling it ATRIP-2 because is is just like the highly successful ATRIP program that was just done,” said Culver.

Now, the first ATRIP had to be used on federally authorized roads. This program will allow county roads and even dirt roads to repaired as well.

“You will know exactly what roads are going to be paved. For Houston County, we are looking at probably around $22 million being spent right here in Houston County.”

Once the bond issue is paid out than the 3-cent gas increase will cease, it will not be a permanent increase.

The request will be sent to the legislature to move forward. Their next session begins the first week in February. 

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