Political analyst says Alabama gas tax proposal creates winners and losers

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Alabama’s political leadership is going to push for a gas tax with Tuesday's opening of the 2019 legislative session.

The proposed tax is aimed at improving state roads and bridges but WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Jess Brown said not everyone's going to like where the money ends up.

The proposed 10-cent per gallon hike, phased in over three years, gives the counties equal shares.

Obviously, Alabama's counties aren’t created equal.

"Frankly, the urban counties get screwed," Brown said. "The 12 to 14 most populated counties in the state arguably are getting the short end of the stick, because they take 45 percent of the money available for counties and distribute that money equally among the 67 counties."

"Randolph County gets the same amount of money Jefferson County does, even though Jefferson County has 30 times as many people."

Brown said there is a caveat to that argument; state funds will likely be used to help larger counties with larger projects.

"Perhaps urban centers get some money back because of the expense of the projects the state will do on arterial highways, like U.S. 72 in our area."

Under the proposal, the state will get more than 66 percent of the new revenue, counties will get 25 percent and cities will get just over 8 percent.

"When you look at total road mileage, to include municipal streets that we travel in Alabama, the cities have primary responsibility for a noticeable share of the overall road mileage, but cities are only going to get 8 percent," he said.

Still, the gas tax hike seems nearly certain, Brown said.

"There may be a little tweaking here or there, but I think the votes are basically there."

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