Now that it’s the new year, states throughout the country are beginning work on their own individual transportation plans. Many states are setting plans for transportation spending and beyond as they also seek public input and announce new proposals.
In Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced a proposal last week to remove the states gasoline tax, making that state the first in the country to eliminate the tax. The flat gas tax of 17.5 cents per gallon does not fluctuate with inflation, and higher-mileage cars are reducing overall revenue. Virginia’s diesel tax, also at 17.5 cents per gallon, would remain in place and not be eliminated under the plan, which also would impose a $100 annual surcharge on alternative-fuel vehicles, including those that run on natural gas. The plan is expected to raise more than $3 billion for transportation over five year and would boost the amount of money going to transportation from sales taxes from the current 0.5 cents to 0.75 cents in that time.
Meanwhile, Missouri needs $1 million more a year for necessary infrastructure improvements, according to a recent report by a special task force. The task force did not lay out a funding plan but suggested possible options such as bonds, toll roads, a sales tax increase, or fuel tax increases, according to the Associated Press. Kentucky currently is seeking public input as it updates a 20-year long-range transportation plan. A recent public survey found needs and focus on maintenance, improving existing roadways, and new roads to be critical. Massachusetts has delayed releasing its transportation plan until this coming week to refocus the report on transportation as an economic driver. Gov. Deval Patrick (D) for the state has previously supported boosting the state’s gasoline tax but has recently gone on record to say he’s not sure that is a solution to the state’s transportation financing shortfall.
Shippers should pay close attention to developments in the states where they have operations.