The tax collected at the fuel pump in Wyoming is on the way up.
Gov. Matt Mead signed into law a bill to increase the state’s fuel tax rate by 10 cents to 24 cents to help cover a $135 million annual shortfall to upkeep roads. The state’s 14-cent-per-gallon tax rate has not changed since 1998.
The governor has advocated a fuel tax increase since he took office two years ago.
During his State of the State speech last month, he called on lawmakers to approve the dime tax increase. He said it would create a long-term funding source to help pay for state and local road projects.
Opponents said the state would be better served to look at efficiency and management of the money already available to the Wyoming Department of Transportation before again tapping an already overtaxed electorate for more money.
House and Senate lawmakers endorsed the change, which takes effect July 1. Senators rejected an attempt to place the tax increase solely on large trucks.
Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, wanted to increase the diesel tax to 30 cents per gallon and leave the gas tax unchanged. He cited damage that trucks do to the state’s roadways, such as Interstate 80.
Sen. John Schiffer, R-Kaycee, said during floor debate that more than doubling the diesel tax and leaving the gas tax unchanged would essentially tell truckers to avoid the state and use I-70.
According to WYDOT, the tax increase will generate about $72 million in new revenue the first year. About $47.4 million – half the amount the state needs to cover the shortfall – will be earmarked for state highways. Counties and cities will receive $16.4 million and $6.7 million, respectively. State parks will claim another $1.2 million.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Wyoming, click here.
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