An effort to amend Alabama’s
constitution has died in the state’s House. It sought to levy an additional ad
valorem tax on motor vehicles to improve transit in Jefferson County, which
House lawmakers voted 49-6 for the
referendum, with several members not voting. Proposed constitutional amendments
require 63 yes votes to pass the chamber.
The bill called for raising about
$40 million to expand bus service, add dedicated transit lanes to highways,
build park-and-ride lots and resume trolley service in Birmingham.
Sponsored by Rep. George Perdue,
D-Birmingham, HB512 was designed to provide a steady funding source to secure
more than $80 million in transit funding that U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL,
has set aside, The Birmingham News reported. Federal transit
funding could reach $750 million in the next decade.
Supporters of the measure say
improved transit is needed to get more people to jobs and school. Opponents
said the bill is designed to strip money and power away from Birmingham and
allow the suburbs to control the transit system.
Perdue’s bill would have increased
tag fees for commercial vehicles by 5 percent and fees for personal vehicles
would have gone up 3.75 percent. Fees, which would have been tax-deductible,
would have been based on the vehicle’s taxable value.
It required local voter approve to