Madison city council to vote on gas tax April 25

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT)-- A gas tax increase could be coming to Madison, if the council passes member Mike Potter's ordinance amendment next meeting.

Madison residents already weighed in at a public comment session last week. Potter puts the situation in terms of roads versus gravel: "Thinner, paved country roads that are now receiving an awful lot of traffic, within a couple of years they will literally turn into gravel," he explained.

Potter said funding for road repairs comes from a patchwork of sources right now. He'd like to see a steady stream pumping in from the increased tax.

"For collector roads, we have a good third of them that are in really poor shape that need attention soon," he said. "We've got some major roads that are also in bad shape."

A tax increase is not an easy sell, though, to citizens who like to safeguard their hard earned money.

"I'm not for it and I'm not against it," said Paul Finley, "I just want to make sure we've exercised all options before we spend the three cents."

Others said they're completely against the tax increase because there are more parties than just the Madison City Council looking for additional revenue.  Representative Mac McCutcheon (R- Madison County) spoke Monday morning about transportation bills, including a gas tax, that could add funding to fix roads around the state.

"You guys are not the only ones trying to get inside my wallet," said Thomas Scovill to the council.

Potter said he can't control what the state and federal governments might do, but he believes Madison needs to be in the driver's seat with its own revenue. He said that's better than waiting to find out what Rep. McCutcheon's bill, if passed, would mean for Madison. He's upset that the bill is unclear about how much funding would trickle down to cities, and how it would be used.

"If we have access to our own dollars, we control what we do, when we do it, and our priority, not the county's or the state's," he said. "Do I want to use their money and partner with them? Yes... but we can't always depend on handouts from higher government authorities."

Potter said he's unsure whether or not his ordinance will pass, but if it does, he will start work on a five year plan for Madison's roads.

The council will vote after the ordinance's second reading at its April 25 meeting.

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