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Republican Plan To Raise Gas Tax Speeding Toward House Vote

Posted On February 10, 2017

By Mike Perleberg

Indiana House of Representatives.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana lawmakers are close to the next step in raising the price at the fuel pump.

The House Ways and Means Committee this week approved House Bill 1002 Wednesday on a 14-9 vote, largely along party lines.

“Most importantly our transportation bill is moving strong. It has strong support,” said Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis).

A House vote on HB 1002 could come next week.

The Republican-backed plan would add 10 cents to the state’s gasoline tax, costing the average Hoosier motorist about $60 each year. It would also charge drivers a $15 annual ‘vehicle fee’, and create a $150 annual electric vehicle fee. It also calls for the Indiana Department of Transportation to investigate the possibility of adding tolls to some highways.

Republicans hope to use revenue from the increased gas tax and new fees to raise about $1 billion each year to pay for road work across the state.

House Democrats introduced an alternative “no new taxes” road funding proposal earlier this week, but it was quickly dismissed by leaders of the Republican supermajority in the House. Bosma says the Democratic plan does not adequately address the state’s highway needs.

“The plan doesn’t accurately fund what we need. It imperils the state’s AAA bond rating and would take money away from schools. So strike one, strike two, strike three,” said Bosma.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has also called the Democrats’ plan “misguided.”

It remains to be seen if Southeastern Indiana state representatives Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) and Randy Lyness (R-West Harrison) will support the Republican bill when it comes up for a vote, but they are in agreement that something must be done to fix Indiana’s roads and bridges.

“Raising taxes is never an easy option,” Lyness said in a recent letter. “When it comes time for me to vote on this issue, I will consider how it will affect the people in our community.”

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