Moment of truth: fast-tracked gas tax increase vote expected Friday

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[Alabama Today via photo by by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube]

The Alabama House of Representatives is expected to vote on Gov. Kay Ivey‘s proposed 10 cent-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax on Friday.

The bill, which has been fast-tracked in the House and was approved by voice-vote in the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday, needs only a simple majority to pass the chamber. That’s because Ivey called the state legislature into a special session to pass the bill, which lowers the threshold for approval. In the regular session, bills connected with the state budget must pass with a three-fifths majority. With 105 members of the State House of Representatives, that means just 53 members need vote in support of it.

The House is scheduled to debate the bill Friday. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon expects lawmakers will vote on the bill following a lengthy debate.

The proposed gas tax plan

The state currently imposes a flat excise tax of 18 cents-per-gallon on gas and 19 cents-per-gallon on diesel, without adjusting for inflation and other construction and maintenance costs.

This combined fuel tax revenue generates 80 percent of Alabama’s transportation funding. The plan’s 10-cent increase will be phased in over the next three years.

New revenue generated by the increase will be dispersed between state, county, and municipal governments in Alabama. According to Ivey, these funds are to be used for transportation infrastructure improvement, preservation and maintenance projects. A separate portion of the revenues will go to pay a bond to be issued to finance improvements to the ship channel providing access to the facilities of the Alabama State Docks.

The state’s gasoline tax was last increased in 1992.