Maine roads budget approved

| 4/11/2003

The Maine Senate has given final approval for a $594 million state highway budget that relies on fuel tax hikes starting this summer, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The two-year budget passed the Senate 31-1 on April 7. It now heads to Gov. John E. Baldacci, who is expected to sign it.

The budget covers state expenses for roads, bridges, state police, motor vehicles and other transportation services for the two years, starting July 1. It's funded mostly by excise taxes on motor fuels.

A law that passed last spring authorized indexing of diesel fuel and gas taxes to account for cost-of-living increases, the newspaper reported. A 2.6-cent-a-gallon increase to take effect this summer is included in the highway budget that passed April 7, and the tax could increase another half-cent in July 2004.