Resolution delivered to state house to increase Colbert County fuel tax

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – A resolution has been delivered to the state legislature this session to increase the fuel tax in Colbert County. County leaders say roads are deteriorating quicker than they can fix them on limited funds.

John Bedford

“This road has really lost its entire template. We’ll be bringing something in probably to work it, if we get the revenue,” explained John Bedford the Colbert County Engineer.

Bedford has been the Colbert County Engineer since 2000. Each year he has to make tough decisions on what roads will get new pavement and which ones won’t. He said its tough when you have 430-miles of roads and only enough money to repave five of those miles.

Currently the county receives just over half-a-million dollars for paving projects from existing federal gas taxes.

“Right now we are in a preventative maintenance mode that our operations change everyday based on what we find,” stated Bedford. “The roads and bridges are getting to the point where its going to cost us, and it already has.”

Essentially the Colbert County Road Department is chasing pot holes. Bedford and the county commission have asked for a legislative resolution which will allow them to add a fuel tax of 3-cents per gallon. The revenue would be split between the county and municipalities to go directly to paving.

Bedford said it’s a minimal cost to drivers. “$30 a year, that’s what we are talking about with a 3-cent fuel tax. But the benefit you will get in return for it, it’s a multiplier.”

According to Bedford, they need just over $3-million a year to establish a paving maintenance schedule. If the fuel tax resolution passes – they would likely generate a third of that, but Bedford said it’s a start.

County leaders say if the resolution passes the state legislature the tax can be placed on fuel in Colbert County without a vote of the residents.

Representative Marcel Black, Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, and State Senator Larry Stutts are supporting the resolution. No word yet on when it will be presented.