By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
An effort to boost fuel tax revenues in Wyoming is expected to draw consideration during the 2011 regular session. The Legislature’s interim transportation panel has prefiled a bill that would phase-in a dime increase in the state’s fuel tax.
Currently, truckers and other drivers pay a 14-cent-per-gallon tax at the fuel pump. The new bill – HB22 – would increase the tax rate to 24 cents during the next three years.
The state’s 14-cent-per-gallon tax on diesel and gas would increase to 24 cents in three steps. It would rise to 17 cents the first year. It would increase another 3 cents the following year and another 4 cents in the final year of the phase-in.
Wyoming’s highway fund would get a $14 million shot in the arm during the first year. At the end of the three-year period the fund would be $91.4 million richer. Local governments would claim another $35.4 million.
Officials with the Wyoming Department of Transportation say something must be done because they don’t have enough state or federal money to maintain roadways, including Interstate 80. They predict the situation will only worsen with traffic projected to double in 30 years. Trucks account for about half of the traffic.
It is uncertain whether lawmakers will be receptive to a tax increase. Faced with flat federal funding and increased costs, however, lawmakers could be more willing to consider the option.
Out-of-state drivers, including truckers, would be the target of the proposed tax increase. WYDOT officials say that 53 percent of revenue collected from the fuel tax is paid by non-residents.
The bill can be considered during the session that begins Feb. 8, 2011.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Wyoming, click here.
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