Wyoming panel endorses road funding methods

| 11/1/2011

Three months remain before Wyoming state lawmakers convene the 2012 session but that has not stopped a transportation panel from coming up with a list of highway funding measures to pursue.

The Joint Interim Committee on Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs has adopted multiple proposals to raise about $50 million a year to help maintain the state’s roads and bridges.

Five measures would boost certain fees and reroute certain revenues to help the Wyoming Department of Transportation address a $135 million annual shortfall.

One option endorsed by the panel is to increase vehicle registration fees by $7.50. According to a fiscal analysis, it is anticipated that raising fees on cars and light trucks would generate about $7 million.

A separate bill that is expected to be considered during the upcoming budget session would divert nearly $14 million a year from general government fines and penalties for highways. The revenue now is applied to education.

Another effort to put more money into transportation relies on funding now directed to the state’s general fund. If approved by lawmakers, about $25 million in sales tax paid on off-road diesel would be used for roads each year.

Also expected to be considered by lawmakers is elimination of the state’s ethanol tax credit and additional fees for ignition interlocks.

The 40-cents-per-gallon tax credit on ethanol would be thrown out. The extra revenue is expected to add about $3 million to the transportation pot.

In addition, a $150 one-time fee is sought for people to obtain an ignition interlock driver’s license.

It will be up to the full Legislature to decide whether to approve any, or all, of the committee’s highway funding proposals. The regular session begins Feb. 13, 2012.

Voters would get the final say on whether to divert revenue from schools to roads.

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

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