Fuel tax hike sought in New Hampshire

| 12/9/2008

Concern about how to fund road and bridge work has lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in New Hampshire looking into a fuel tax increase.

The state’s 18-cent-per-gallon tax on gas and diesel is the main source of revenue for the struggling road budget. Officials with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation say the agency is on track for a $1 billion shortfall in the state’s 10-year highway plan.

In an effort to reduce the funding gap, Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashau, filed the paperwork for a bill that would raise the fuel tax. Details of the effort haven’t been finalized.

The likelihood of getting a tax increase approved by Gov. John Lynch doesn’t appear to be favorable. The governor has opposed raising the tax in the past, and Lynch recently said he hasn’t changed his mind.

Factors contributing to the funding crunch include costs for road building materials that have risen by 60 percent during the past four years.

To make matters worse, fuel tax revenue is down because people are driving less. As a result, fuel consumption in the state is off nearly 4 percent, the Concord Monitor reported.

All legislation can be considered during the regular session, which begins Jan. 7.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor