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“Local option” turned gas tax index bill

TURF LEGISLATIVE ALERT HB 9/HJR 9 “Local option” turned gas tax index bill

We support an elimination of gas tax diversions, a modest (8-10 cent) statewide gas tax increase, or an indexed gas tax increase (capped at 10 cents over 6 years when it would sunset and voters could revisit continuing the increase at that time) to be used solely for public roads.
We oppose the wording HB 9 because:

• There is no prohibition on using the increased tax revenues for toll roads and CDAs/PPPs (privatizing our public roads)
• Diverts gas tax money away from road construction to rail
• Allows the increased tax revenue to be deposited in the State Infrastructure Bank to “encourage public and private investment in transportation facilities both within and outside of the state highway system, including facilities that contribute to the multimodal and intermodal transportation capabilities of the state; and…develop financing techniques designed to…maximize private and local participation in financing projects”

We oppose the wording of HJR 9 because:

• There is no prohibition on using the increased tax revenues for toll roads and CDAs (privatizing our public roads)
• No cap or annual limit is expressly stated in the amendment itself
• It allows ANY cost index to be utilized for the annual increase (so the state law can be changed at any time to utilize ANY one or multiple indexing methods with NO cap or sunset in the amendment itself: “may include a provision basing the adjustment wholly or partly on one or more price or cost indexes published by an agency of the United States.”)
• In one section of the amendment it strikes use of gas taxes for “policing” public roadways and in another allows diversion of gas taxes for “supervising traffic and safety of” public roadways: “the administration of laws that may be prescribed by the Legislature pertaining to the supervision of traffic and safety on public roads performed by, or under the supervision of, the agency of this state, or a component or successor in function, responsible for the construction and maintenance of state highways” (section 7-d)
• Allows for diversion of gas taxes revenue increase away from roads to rail

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