HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A bill has been introduced in the Montana Legislature that would increase the state’s gas tax by a nickel.
Democratic Rep. Nancy Wilson, of Missoula, is sponsoring House Bill 275.
The tax is currently 27 cents a gallon. Federal tax adds an additional 18.4 cents per gallon.
Montana hasn’t increased its state gas tax since 1994.
Under Wilson’s proposal, 3 cents of the new tax would go to repair and maintenance for local roads and 2 cents would help fund public transportation, including additional bus routes between cities and increasing funding for DUI task forces.
The House Transportation Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the bill next Wednesday.
Wilson tells KECI-TV (https://bit.ly/1yPwiQZ ) that the transportation system in Montana is a mess and local roads desperately need repairs.
“Transportation is one of the things we need to do together as a community, that is what taxes are for - education, transportation and legal services and fire protection and this is just a part of that,” said Wilson.
Wilson said public transportation between cities isn’t up to par.
“There really is not enough transit across the state. You can’t get to any city and back again in one day, you can’t get to most cities more than once a week,” said Wilson.
Rep. Rob Cook, R-Helena, said he’s glad Montana’s degrading infrastructure is getting attention in the legislature, but thinks this bill overlooks smaller more rural communities.
“I think the sponsor has crafted a rather urban-centric solution to the problems of our larger cities and really neglected to consider rural components, so I don’t think it’s a viable solution,” Cook said.
Wilson sponsored a similar bill in the 2013 session, but it never made it out of the committee.
Information from: KECI-TV, https://www.keci.com
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