Senate committee passes gas tax; it heads to Senate floor

Gas tax proposal advances to Senate

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey’s infrastructure plan has jumped another hurdle in the state legislature. The Senate Transportation and Energy committee passed the package, including the 10-cent gas tax increase, Monday morning.

The plan would increase the state gas tax by 10 cents over the next three years. All of the money would go toward roads, bridges and the Mobile port.

“It’s been well-planned. Very thorough,” said Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston.

The package is compiled of three bills. One of which includes measures to make sure the money goes strictly toward infrastructure.

“You will see layer after layer after layer of safeguards,” Rep. Bill Poole, the sponsor of the bill, said.

Attached to the gas tax is a price index. It would increase or decrease the gas tax every two years no more than one cent. Some republicans have showed concerns for this.

Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, said he would vote for the infrastructure package that was voted out of the House last week. He said the bill includes provisions that allows counties to use the gas tax money to bring down matching funds from the federal government. He also said there is language to make sure minority contractors are included in the process.

“With all of the rain there are a lot of roads that are washing,” Singleton said. “We need infrastructure there to have better paved roads.”

Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, said she plans to support the infrastructure package because she said the gas tax bill would give Birmingham enough funding. She also said it would allow adjacent cities and counties to work together and pull money together to develop infrastructure.

“We are just trying to fight and pave streets,” Coleman-Madison said.

Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, said she will not vote for the package unless there is a commitment from the governor to expand Medicaid.

“This state had an opportunity to get $1.3 billion plus 30,000 jobs had we expanded Medicaid when that was on the table,” she said. “We’ve had options before. We didn’t just wake up yesterday or last month and find out that our infrastructure is crumbling around us.”

Figures said she it is a burden on poor people to pay for a gas tax increase.

Sen. Marsh expects the senate to debate and possibly vote on the plan Tuesday.

“It won’t be rushed,” he said. “If we need to go two or three days, we can do that.”

The Senate will meet at 10 a.m.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.