Less than a week after being initially introduced in the statehouse, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed into law a 10 cent per gallon gas tax hike that will be phased in over the course of three years.
“The plan would raise an estimated $320 million a year for road construction and maintenance,” reports Mike Cason, who covers the Alabama Statehouse for the Alabama Media Group. “About $12 million a year would go to a project to improve the shipping channel in the port of Mobile.”
The bill enacted by Governor Ivey and bipartisan majorities of the Alabama House and Senate represents a more than 55% increase in the state’s gas tax rate, which currently stands an 18 cents per gallon for gasoline and 19 cents for diesel.
In accordance with the new law, Alabama’s tax on gas and diesel fuel will rise by 6 cents per gallon after August 31 of this year. The rate will increase by 2 cents a gallon on October 1, 2020, and again one year after that.
This 55% gas tax increase was the first action taken by many new members of the Alabama House and Senate. According to a poll released this week by Alabama First Committee, the tax hike is not popular with the public, with the poll showing 85.2% opposing the bill to hike the state’s gas tax that was enacted yesterday.
“It is clear that Alabamians across the state want better roads and bridges, but they are overwhelming opposed to higher gasoline taxes,” said former Tuscaloosa County Commissioner Don Wallace, chairman of Alabama First, the organization the commissioned the new poll.
Alabama officials have misdirected gas tax revenues for non-transportation purposes in the past by hundreds of millions of dollars. It will be interesting to see if such misappropriation will continue now that Governor Ivey and state lawmakers have just taken action to take more money from taxpayers at the pump. Alabama taxpayers aren’t out of the woods yet. Republican leadership in the Alabama legislature reportedly has plans to hike other taxes this session, as well as expand Medicaid in accordance with Obamacare.