Houston County residents have dodged a tax increase that most counties in the state may soon impose.
Nearly 40-percent of Alabama’s fatal car accidents happen on county roads.
Therefore, the State Legislature is considering passing a bill that would allow counties to raise gas tax by as much as six cents then use that money for road safety improvements.
However, Houston County doesn’t even qualify for the gas tax increase because the bill won’t allow it if 90 percent of your roads grade 85 percent or better.
In Houston County, 97 percent of the roads meet the minimum standard, making the county’s roads the safest in the state.
Houston County Commission, Chairman Mark Culver said, “So the tax would not apply in it’s current form to Houston County and honestly, if it did, I don’t believe the Houston County Commission would put the tax on. But there are a lot of counties in the state that have serious needs and, like I said, it’s from a safety perspective.”
Houston County’s roads have been the safest in the state for the past several years primarily because of maintenance.
Mark Pool, with the Houston County Road & Bridge Department said, “We try to make sure that we’ve got what’s called a 10 feet clear zone. We’ve moved all the brick mailboxes back, we’ve cut all the big trees back, [and] we make the shoulder of the road blend with the pavement.”
The Road and Bridge Department also maintains signs and striping allowed by the county commission through current revenues.
Coffee County will also be exempt from allowing a gas tax hike because of their high grades.
This is the first time the State Legislature has ever considered allowing a local gas tax initiative.