Counties, cities want possible gas tax increase money

Lawmakers discuss possible gas tax increase

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - With a possible gas tax increase on the minds of state leaders, cities and counties are trying to tap into that money.

In general, right now the pie is divided up three ways. The Alabama Department of Transportation gobbles up half. The remaining funds go mostly to the county with cities splitting just the last 10 percent.

But the League of Municipalities said they want to see this city/county share go to 50-50.

“As more and more citizens have moved into cities and into populated areas, we’ve had to widen roads, put more lanes into our city roads and we’ve had to upgrade those roads," said Greg Cochran, with the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Cochran said it is more expensive to put lanes in cities roads than in county roads. He said there are many inferior roads in cities.

“Inferior roads are roads that haven’t been updated and up-kept in some time because the resources were just not there," Cochran said.

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama said counties also need a lot of this money.

“One of the important things to remember is even the smallest city in Alabama has the ability to raise the gasoline tax tonight if they wish," said Sonny Brasfield, with the association.

He said only about 10 county commissions can levy this type of tax.

“That means all of the citizens and all of the industries that rely on county roads and bridges, rely on the money from the state gasoline tax," he said.

And it’s up to lawmakers to divvy up the possible gas tax increase. Rep. Bill Poole said he may sponsor a gas tax bill. He said they are discussing how to distribute the money so all parts of the state benefit.

Tony Harris, a spokesperson with ALDOT, said the need for additional funding is critical.

“ALDOT has specific plans to address rural and urban congestion and economic development corridors that could be rapidly implemented based on the level of new funding passed by the legislature,” Harris said.

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