Alabama could see 12 cent gas tax increase, cities group says


By Lydia Nusbaum, WSFA

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – With crumbling roads and lagging infrastructure, leaders have called for more money to fix them, and it could come in the form of a gas tax increase.

Greg Cochran with the League of Municipalities said Tuesday there was an agreement between the governor, counties and cities to increase the state gas tax by 12 cents, on top of current gas tax. Lawmakers would need to approve it.

“We’re looking forward to talking with counties and the governor on adequate funding for cities,” Cochran said.

The tax has not been touched in 26 years and there has been debate on how to divide up gas tax money. Cochran said eight more cents would go to the state, three more cents to counties, and one more cent to cities.

Many mayors are on board with this, including Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. He said the city had over 300,000 more visitors in 2018.

“So what I would say is if you’re going to use the roads, let’s pay for making them smooth and inviting,” Strange said.

Opelika’s mayor said the city would use the money for roundabouts, bridges and street projects.

“If we’re going to have infrastructure, if we’re going to have schools, if we’re going to have these things, we’re going to have to pay for it,” said Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.

City of Athens mayor is also on board with a user fee.

“Thousands and thousands of jobs and people are needing the infrastructure to get back and forth to work,” said Athens Mayor William Marks.

Gov. Kay Ivey said in her inaugural address infrastructure is a priority. Ivey’s office sent the following statement:

“It should come as no surprise that Governor Ivey, Senate President Pro Temp Marsh and Speaker McCutcheon – and bi-partisan leaders in both the House and Senate, as well as many other leaders throughout the state – have been working for months to try to build support and momentum for a major new Infrastructure initiative, the first of its kind in almost 30 years.
Gov. Kay Ivey

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama has been involved with the discussions. They have been advocating for more money for county roads. Sonny Brasfield provided a statement:

“Over the past 10 days, Alabama Counties have spent a great deal of time meeting with the sponsor of the legislation, Gov. Kay Ivey, the Director of ALDOT and the League. The Association’s officers and board members have been kept informed of these discussions, and we continue to be confident that all parties will be on the same page before the start of the Regular Legislative Session on March 5. At this time, there is nothing to announce, other than the assurance that the Association is working extremely hard to represent counties as effectively as possible to ensure this infrastructure effort can be a success.”
Sonny Brasfield

The gas tax is anticipated to be a major topic during the legislative session. It begins March 5th.