Increase in Gas Tax Possible

Contributor: Nick Patrick
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Updated: 12/18/2013 6:59 pm
A change to gas taxes is just one possibility that law makers will be discussing during the upcoming session in January. This is all due to a lack of funding when it comes to road repair in Mississippi. David Baria, a State Representative, says, "We have roads and bridges throughout this state that are crumbling and if you drove here today, you likely drove over a bridge that is in bad need of repair.” Better fuel economy in vehicles sounds like a good thing, but it’s starting to take a toll on Mississippi's roadways. Sean Tindell, a State Senator, says, "As fuel economy has gotten greater, people are using less gallons. You also have electric cars and propane cars on the road, so they are using the road without paying anything to be on them." According to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, the current gas tax rate is 18 cents per gallon, but law makers say this is not enough to maintain roads. Tindell also says, "That’s cut the overall budget for highways and road funding, so we have seen deterioration in some of our roads, so that's something we need to look at and figure out how we’re going to address."

With road repairs falling behind, the state law makers are looking for ways to fund road construction, which could include an increase in gas taxes. Michael Watson, a State Senator, says, "People are scared of the idea of a gas tax increase and I’m not in favor of increasing anyone’s taxes, but at some point, you have to understand. Do you want more services or do you want to pay less taxes?" Law makers say they are making road repair a priority in the upcoming session. Baria also says, "We need to do something about our roads and bridges. Number one, it's a safety concern, and number two, you can create jobs when you dedicate resources to infrastructure repair and development." An increase in gas tax is by no means guaranteed. It is just one of several options law makers will be discussing.

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