Alabama gas tax hike unlikely this year unless Congress acts

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Dothan, AL (WTVY)- Months after a proposed gasoline tax bill ran out of fuel in the Alabama legislature lawmakers say it’s unlikely to resurface in the 2018 session that begins Tuesday.

However, some believe work could begin on implementing a hike in 2019. “Even if we don’t pass a bill this year we need to work to get ready and get a bill passed as soon as we can,” Rep. Dexter Grimsley (D-Newville) said Monday.

There is one way a gas tax could be implemented this year. At the urging of President Trump, Congress may consider a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan to improve the nation’s roads and bridges. If that happens, Alabama might be forced to pass a gas tax to receive federal matching funds.

Rep. Steve Clouse said, whether now or later, Alabama must face the issue of it’s roads and bridges. “Just like a house, they’re going to fall apart if there’s not maintenance.” He pointed out over 1,000 bridges are unsafe for school buses to cross.

A six cent per gallon hike proposed last year looked promising and likely would have passed the legislature had it cleared a procedural hurdle. The proposal would have raised the tax on gas 4 cents a gallon after passage and another two cents in 2019.

Alabama hasn’t increased its gas tax, 18 cents a gallon, since 1992.

Clouse and Grimsley, along with Representatives Paul Lee and Donnie Chesteen spoke to Dothan Chamber of Commerce members at the annual Eggs and Issues meeting.