A bill that would raise the gas tax in New Hampshire 4.2 cents in the second half of 2014 passed through the Senate Ways and Means Committee by a vote of 4-1 on Tuesday. If the bill is made into law, it would be the state’s first gas tax hike in two decades.
SB 367, as the bill is known, would trigger the 4.2-cent increase on July 1 of this year. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan will reportedly sign the bill into law if it makes it to her desk.
According to Sen. Jim Rausch, the bill’s chief sponsor, a 4.2-cent increase would provide an additional $32 million for the New Hampshire DOT and transportation projects. The department has promised the money would not be used for any other purpose.
The bill met some resistance for a provision that would have automatically triggered future increases based on the consumer price index; that provision is scheduled to be removed from the legislation. Others were concerned about how the extra funds would be used, as the bill doesn’t designate them for a specific project.
Some of the issues that New Hampshire hopes to address with the additional gas tax revenue include 140 red listed bridges across the state, a road network with 37% of roads in poor condition and the expansion of I-93.