Wyoming governor opposes roads plan

| 9/22/2003

Gov. Dave Freudenthal told the Wyoming Transportation Commission this week he does not support raising the state fuel tax to pay for widening several state highways, Cheyenne’s KGWN reported.

But he told commissioners they could convince him to change his mind if there were widespread public support for the idea.

“I’d want a great deal more comfort that it’s going to enjoy broad support from that public that’s going to use the roads,” he said during an informal meeting with the commissioners Sept. 17 in Cheyenne.

The news station reported that Freudenthal predicted the Legislature would not pass a fuel tax increase during this winter’s budget session, because it is an election year and because the state has a surplus.

Although the state anticipates a budget surplus this year, the rate of spending increases will likely outpace revenue in coming years, so lawmakers could be looking at any number of revenue measures sometime soon, he said.

Plus, he said, Congress has yet to act on a major transportation funding bill, which could ultimately decrease the amount of federal funding that goes to WYDOT.

In that case, state lawmakers might consider a fuel tax hike to offset the loss of federal funds, the governor said.