Vermont fuel tax increase eyed for non-road use

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, January 27, 2016

An effort underway in the Vermont Legislature would boost the state’s excise tax rate by a couple of cents – and would not use the revenue for roads and bridges.

Vermont now charges a 31-cent fuel tax on gas and diesel bought in the state.

A bill from Rep. Curt McCormack, D-Burlington, in the House Transportation Committee would increase the excise rate by 2 cents per gallon starting July 1, 2016.

The new revenue would not be used to help address the nearly 570 bridges in the state categorized as obsolete or the nearly 280 bridges described as structurally deficient. Instead, the money would be reserved for the state Agency of Transportation’s public transit program and to the Department of Public Safety for the State Police.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes the legislation because it would divert highway taxes from being used to support roads and bridges in the state.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, said the bill makes an existing problem significantly worse.

“Revenue generated from highway users should be used to build and maintain highways, including the hundreds of bridges in Vermont that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete,” Matousek said. “H621 does not address Vermont’s highway and bridge needs, nor is it a sustainable or appropriate source of revenue to support public transit and the State Police.”

Matousek has submitted comments on truckers’ behalf to McCormack and members of the House Transportation Committee. The Association encourages Vermont truckers to contact their state lawmakers to share their concern about the bill.

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

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