Both the Utah House and Senate have passed competing bills to increase the state gas tax, and they are now working on a compromise to bridge the gap between the two measures.
The Senate voted 20-5 on March 9 to approve legislation which would increase the state gas tax by 6 cents-per-gallon by July 2015, with an additional 3 cents-per-gallon phased in gradually over the next four years. A Fiscal Note issued March 9 estimated Senate Bill 160 would increase the Transportation Fund by $54.218 million in FY 2016 and $77.954 million in FY 2017. Additionally, funding to local governments for ‘Class B’ and ‘Class C’ roads was estimated at $16.265 million in FY 2016 and $23.386 million in FY 2017.
On the same day, the House passed its own measure to increase the state gas tax with a vote of 51-22. House Bill 362 would replace the state’s 24.5 cents-per-gallon flat gasoline tax with a 10 percent tax on the average price of wholesale fuel. Limits on the variable-rate tax would be put in place preventing the tax from enacting until the wholesale price of gas reaches $2.45 per gallon, or increasing more than 40 cents-per-gallon. HB 362 would also authorize a 1/4-cent local option sales and use tax for counties to fund highways and public transit. A Fiscal Note has not yet been issued for HB 362.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that sponsors of both bills have stated the House and Senate are currently working on a compromise between the two proposals, including the potential for a 5 cents-per-gallon increase combined with a percentage on the wholesale price of fuel.
Transportation Investment Advocacy Center staff is currently tracking 26 states and over 90 bills pending legislative action, with more anticipated as the year progresses. The State Transportation Funding Initiatives Report is updated on a monthly basis to reflect the most comprehensive information. To view the most current report visit: http://www.transportationinvestment.org/category/state-funding-initiatives-report/