Rep. Patterson: Gas Tax Hike proposal may “not stay dead” in the Legislature

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon told reporters last week, the gas tax hike legislation was essentially dead for the rest of the legislative session.

Now, local lawmakers believe the controversial bill could be revived.

The town hall meeting Monday night was originally scheduled when the gas tax hike was rapidly moving through the Alabama House of Representatives. They decided to still hold it, in case it comes back up.

Rep. Jim Patterson thinks that could be sooner than you think.

The current proposal, declared dead by the speaker, would raise the gas tax by 4 cents this year and another 2 cents in 2019.

With the prospect of a federal infrastructure spending plan, advocated by the Trump administration, Rep. Jim Patterson believes you'll see this come up again.

"I think we’ll have a special session and I think it’s important to be out talking to people about where they want the money spent so we get that massive infrastructure comes, then we can take advantage of it," said Rep. Patterson (R-Meridianville).

Patterson said, under the President's proposal, states would pay for 10% of the project, the federal government, the other 90%.

It's a great bargain for the states.

The only problem - right now - Alabama doesn't have enough money for their 10% share.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in the state that wouldn’t agree if we’re going to get 90 - 10, we’ve got to come up with the 10, we’ve got to come up with a way to do it," said Patterson.

The details of the deal is where there's controversy.

The current proposal uses the 1967 model for fund distribution, among the counties, that would give each county an equal 10 million dollars.

That would be a huge disadvantage for the populous areas like Madison County.

“A lot of Alabama has changed since 1967, that formula needs to be restructured," said Rep. Patterson.

WHNT News 19 made several attempts to reach out to Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon's office, about the possibility of seeing this gas tax legislation back on the docket, or the likelihood of a special session called.

So far, no one has returned our messages.