Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley stated recently his belief that there is enough political will in Montgomery to push forward with an increase in state's fuel tax to pay for road and bridge projects.
"I do think the gasoline tax is one tax that will certainly be strongly looked at and I think it will be passed," Bentley said during a speech to coastal Alabama business leaders and politicians in Gulf Shores. "People in this state want good bridges. It will come up in the next session, and there is a reasonably good chance it will pass, and I'm for it."
Bentley's comments come after an Alabama state House committee voted in August to approve a hike in the state's approximately 21 cents-per-gallon gas tax by 5 cents. The increase would have raised an estimated $70 million in fiscal year 2016, had it been approved by the full legislature.
Bentley, speaking to the media after his speech, said he predicts lawmakers will have an appetite for a hike in fuel taxes as long as revenues go toward road and bridge projects. "I think most people really are willing to pay for better roads, I really do," Bentley said. "I think the people of the state understand if we are going to have new and better roads, we have to pay for them."
Alabama is just the latest state to consider a gas tax increase at a time when federal transportation funding has been uncertain. States such as Georgia and Nebraska approved increases to their gas taxes earlier this summer. Other states have made similar moves to press ahead with programs to address much-needed fixes to aging infrastructure.