Following House rush, Senate leadership hurries to pass gas tax increase

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Gov. Kay Ivey‘s proposed 10 cent-per-gallon increase to the state gas tax could move one step closer to reality on Monday. The Alabama Senate Transportation and Energy Committee is poised to consider the House-passed plan later today, meaning the full Senate could consider the plan as early as Tuesday.

Fast-tracking the bill

The bill, which was fast-tracked in the House and approved on Friday, needed 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. In the 35 member Senate, 18 votes will be needed to approve the bill.

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.

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