Fuel tax increase under consideration in Idaho

| 10/31/2007

An effort is expected to be made in Idaho during the 2008 regular legislative session to increase fuel taxes by as much as 10 percent.

Officials with the Idaho Transportation Department say boosting the 25-cent-per-gallon tax rate on diesel and gasoline is part of a package of initiatives sought to generate as much as $200 million annually for roads. It is estimated that it will cost $20 billion during the next 30 years to pay for roadwork throughout the state.

Without new money, state DOT officials say new construction projects will be delayed and maintenance work will be scaled back. Snowplowing of roads also will be reduced, the Idaho Statesman reported.

Idaho relies on state and federal fuel taxes and registration fees to pay for road and bridge work. However, those funds haven’t been keeping up with rising construction costs. More fuel-efficient vehicles are also contributing to the dwindling revenues to foot the bill for transportation projects.

Options to increase the tax collected on fuel consist of charging more on a per-gallon basis, adding a sales tax on the total amount purchased, or increasing the fuel tax that distributors are responsible for paying, the Statesman reported.

Increasing vehicle registration fees is another option being considered.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Idaho in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor