Ivey proposes 10-cent gas tax increase to pay for road improvements

MAPLESVILLE, Ala. - Gov. Kay Ivey announced a plan Wednesday that proposes raising the state's gas tax 10 cents to pay for infrastructure improvements.

Ivey's Rebuild Alabama Infrastructure Plan would divide the money among state, county and municipal governments in the state to fund infrastructure improvement, preservation and maintenance projects.

Currently Alabamians pay an 18-cent tax per gallon of gas and 19 cents per gallon of diesel.

A recent report from national transportation research group TRIP reported that 30 percent of Alabama's major roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition because of inadequate funding. Ivey's office said a report from the University of Alabama found cars and trucks are putting 69 billion miles on the state's roads every year, which is a 17 percent increase over the last 15 years.

The tax will be voted on during the upcoming legislative session as part of a bill sponsored by state Rep. Bill Poole (R-Tuscaloosa).

Local lawmakers who WHNT News 19 spoke with earlier this month about the proposed tax said they were open to voting in favor of it.

"We've enjoyed low gasoline prices here in Alabama for a long time compared to other states. We're typically in the bottom five states in the country as far as our gas prices go," said Clay Ingram of AAA Alabama.

Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon said while some citizens may be against an increase, this one is necessary.

"When you look at the traffic flow across our state, from people who live out of the state, if they're going to ride on our roads, then they need to help us keep them repaired and the expansion project that we need," explained McCutcheon. "Because of that, we need to get some revenue from the gas pump."

Mayor Tommy Battle said he's all for improving infrastructure.

"We have to invest in our roadways and our infrastructure, if Governor Ivey's plan gets through, we've got a few more projects that will hit the road as you might say," said Battle.

Some gas stations may absorb a 1 or 2 cent hit on behalf of customer satisfaction, but AAA Alabama said these rates will be factored into the price we pay at the pump.

Ingram said there is still a way to push for lower gas prices even if the state happens to increase its gas tax.

"Price shop! It's a very powerful tool. It creates competition in the market place and these stations compete for our business by lowering their prices."

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