road-building industry could push for higher fuel taxes when state lawmakers
head to the Capitol next month to avoid losing millions of dollars in federal
Billy Norrell told The Associated Press a 5-cent-per-gallon increase on
diesel fuel and gasoline would help pay for upgrades on roads, mass and rural
transit, and small airports.
director of the Alabama Road Builders Association, said the state in coming
years could miss qualifying for millions of dollars in federal transportation
grants without the higher taxes. The federal government grants states $4 for
every dollar raised in state fuel taxes or other matching state money.
5-cent hike could raise about $120 million a year, AP reported.
lawmakers predicted getting the Legislature to raise fuel taxes this spring
would be a hard sell. They indicated needs are more urgent at state agencies
other than the Department of Transportation.
State DOT officials
said they could use more money. The agency spends about $120 million a year for
highway maintenance, but officials told AP $250 million to $300 million
a year is needed.
question that we need more money for improving roads in the state,” said Sen.
Jim Preuitt, D-Talladega. But Preuitt, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee,
added, “The people aren’t in a taxing mood.”
Lawmakers will kick
off their 15-week regular session Feb. 3.