AASHTO Journal

Utah Lawmakers Approve Funding Measure Altering, Raising Motor Fuel Fees

Utah's Legislature voted just before a midnight, March 12, adjournment deadline to raise and alter motor fuel excise fees to help close a projected funding shortfall for future transportation projects.

The compromise measure would increase user taxes on motor fuel by 5 cents a gallon next Jan. 1, for the first increase in 18 years, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The Senate had sought a 10-cent increase, the story said, the while the House had wanted no hike in fuel taxes.

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The measure also reportedly adopts a House proposal to convert the current cents-per-gallon gas tax into a percentage wholesale tax, which will allow the user charge receipts to grow as fuel prices rise and would be adjusted once a year.

However, the lawmaker who was the bill's chief sponsor told the Tribune it will not let the automatic increases start until the wholesale price of gasoline reaches $2.45 a gallon, which is projected to be years away.

Here is the legislative text.

The Utah Department of Transportation and a recent TRIP report on state highway needs had projected a $27 billion shortfall over the next 30 years in funding to meet transportation system needs, including a gap of $11 billion just for priority projects.

The Tribune story on the revenue measure said cities in urban areas, the Utah Transit Authority and counties would receive increases in their portions of a sales tax. And the final measure removed proposed increases in car registration fees.

Gov. Gary Herbert has indicated he would probably sign the measure, the Tribune said.

"Having a five cent increase in gasoline tax so we can have some instant infusion of money into our needs for roads is a good thing," Herbert said ahead of passage. "Having a sales tax that will grow as we have an expansion in the economy to address our growth pressures is also a good thing."

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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