Last week, I cast my first votes as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and, amongst those votes, was one of the most difficult decisions that I will likely ever have to make in the Alabama State House. That vote was to increase the fuel tax and I strongly believe that, after a great deal of research, deeply studying the statistics and facts presented to me, listening to the constituents of District 89 and prayer, that I cast the vote that was best for Pike and Dale counties.
I was presented with three options. One was to do nothing and keep funding levels exactly as they have been for nearly 30 years, while fuel tax revenues declined, construction costs are increasing and vehicles are significantly more fuel efficient. The second option was to borrow hundreds of millions dollars and leave it to our children and grandchildren to worry about how to pay it back later. The third was to vote to increase the fuel tax which is the fairest way to ensure that all of our road’s users including, out of state truckers, tourists and out of state college students who currently use our roads and bridges but contribute nothing to maintaining them, begin to pay their fair share. Contrary to internet rumors, this legislation does not raise the tag or registration fees on any gas or diesel combustion vehicles.
I do know that it was the time to begin to do the most conservative thing we can do, to pay our own way, ensure our economy keeps growing and that our roads are bridges are safer. Although this legislation is not perfect, it is far better than doing nothing and far, far better than putting our children and grandchildren into even more debt.
Alabama Rep. Wes Allen, Troy, represents Pike County.