The first increase in Wyoming's fuel taxes in 15 years will take effect this year, allowing the Wyoming State Department of Transportation (WYDOT) to fully adopt the pavement preservation philosophy it began in 2011.
In a new Two-Minute State DOT Update video, WYDOT Director John Cox tells the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials’ Transportation TV the 10-cents-per-gallon increase is expected to raise an additional $47.5 million a year to improve and preserve the state's highways. WYDOT manages 6,859 miles of roadway throughout the state.
"We could just see the overall highway conditions slipping out from under us, and what this will allow us to do is to transition for real into a pavement preservation philosophy that we started a couple of years ago," Cox said.
The increase, which takes effect July 1, was the result of recognition that under current funding the condition of the state's transportation infrastructure was deteriorating.
Cox said it was his department's job to help educate lawmakers and the general public about the critical needs. In 2012, the department estimated that an additional $109 million was needed annually to keep its highways in a good state of repair. After WYDOT presented the facts, it was up to the state legislature to decide where the funding would come from.
"It took nine legislative sessions of communicating with the Legislature about the magnitude of the need for that action to be taken," Cox said. "During that time, there were several significant general-fund appropriations for highway construction. This legislation gets us a little less than halfway there, but we're glad to have it."