Wyoming needs more money to widen rural roads

News AASHTO Journal August 03, 2005
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The Wyoming legislature’s Joint Budget Committee is exploring a gasoline<br /> tax hike of five cents to add lanes to highways in the

The Wyoming legislature’s Joint Budget Committee is
exploring a gasoline tax hike of five cents to add lanes to highways in the
state despite opposition from the state’s governor.

The increase would raise $50 million a year to four-lane the
state’s most dangerous two-lane roads. The committee also is considering
tapping the state General Fund for another $50 million to raise a total of $100
million a year for the road improvements.

The committee cites a likelihood of increased mining-related
traffic on existing roads, coupled with the results of a Wyoming Department of
Transportation survey that showed 83% of respondents want more multi-lane
highways and 51% are willing to accept higher taxes to pay for them.

Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal said residents are unhappy now
with gasoline prices and taxes. He said another raise would make them more
upset and that he could not support the tax without more public support.

Last winter the legislature allocated $7 million to the
Wyoming Department of Transportation to begin engineering and construction for
widening of roads other than interstate highways. The cost now is pegged at
$1.4 billion, significantly higher than initial projections.

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