The University of Alabama’s Research and Economic Development department released a Feb. 1 report evaluating Alabama’s road network in comparison with neighboring states, assessing potential challenges facing the highway system, and outlining policy options to meet these challenges.

One of the most prominent challenges identified in the report is the decline of purchasing power since the last gas tax increase in 1992, due to several factors including increasing fuel efficiency, fleet makeup, and inflation. As a result, the capacity and demand placed on the state’s road system is outpacing the rate at which funding can accommodate the influx. The problem is expected to be exacerbated by population, economic, and technological growth.

One recommendation to address the need for additional funding is to adjust the state motor fuel tax, including indexing gas and diesel taxes to offset the impact of inflation. The report’s recommendations are aimed at informing state officials about the efficacy of potential approaches to transportation funding.

TIAC expects Alabama will consider measures to increase transportation revenue in 2019.

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