Minnesota House Republicans unveiled a new transportation funding proposal on March 21 that would impose a $75 surcharge on electric car owners and divert taxes on car parts and car rentals, which currently are deposited in the General Fund, for transportation investment. Several bills to increase revenue for the state’s transportation infrastructure have already been introduced this year, including bills to raise the state motor fuel tax. Read More>>
A diverse coalition of 40 organizations is calling on Connecticut lawmakers to pass a transportation fund “lockbox” this legislative session in order to protect transportation-related revenue from being diverted for other purposes. Read More>>
State Transportation Funding Legislation Progress the Week of March 20 – 24:
- Utah Gary Herbert (R) on March 21 signed into law a bill that will move up the implementation date of the state’s variable-rate gas to when the average wholesale price (AWP) of motor fuel reaches $1.78 per gallon. The variable-rate tax, approved in 2015 transportation funding legislation, was previously scheduled to take effect when the AWP reached $2.45 per gallon. The 2017 addition also raises the variable-rate from 12 percent to 16.5 percent of the AWP of motor fuel within the state.
- Two Wyoming bills became law without Gov. Matthew Mead’s (R) approval. The bills will increase vehicle registration fees, commercial vehicle weight fees, and license fees. While the bills are projected to provide $22.5 million annually, they are accompanied by a $24.5 million cut in General Fund appropriations to the transportation fund. Gov. Mead cited this when he declined to sign the bills. The bills went into effect without the governor’s approval on March 20.
Other Bill Progress:
- Tennessee’s IMPROVE Act continues to advance through committees in the state legislature. The bill received approval from the Senate Local Government Committee on March 21.
- A Colorado proposal to increase the state sales tax by 0.62 percent cleared its first hurdle and passed the House Transportation and Energy Committee with a vote of 8-5 on March 22.
- An Idaho bill to utilize $300 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue (GARVEE) bonds failed to get enough support when the Senate voted on March 22. With 15 in favor but 20 opposed, the bill will not advance to the House. The delay in transportation funding action, considered a priority by legislative leaders, is one factor contributing to lawmakers’ decision to postpone a March 24 scheduled adjournment until resolution can be reached.
- The Ohio Senate approved a transportation budget bill that permits counties to levy an addition motor vehicle registration tax (subject to voter approval). The bill now goes to the House.
- An Arkansas bill to earmark existing internet sales tax revenue for transportation investment passed its first committee on March 21.