Cape Gazette
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Markell proposes 10-cent gas tax hike

Plan would create $500 million dollars for DelDOT
By Ron MacArthur | Jan 31, 2014
Photo by: Ron MacArthur Filling up at the pump in Delaware could cost more if a proposed 10-cent per gallon fuel tax increase is approved by state lawmakers.

Driving will get more expensive in Delaware if a 10-cent per gallon increase in fuel taxes is approved. The 10-cent jump – a 43-percent increase from the current 23-cent tax – would bring the state's fuel tax to 33 cents per gallon for gasoline and 32 cents per gallon for all other fuels, including diesel.

State transportation estimates show the average Delaware motorist would pay about $57 more a year in state gasoline taxes. That figure is based on a motorist purchasing 570 gallons of fuel driving 13,475 miles per year in a vehicle that averages 23 miles per gallon.

Gov. Jack Markell is asking the General Assembly to support the increase to bolster the state's transportation trust fund.


GAS TAX IN OTHER STATES


(numbers are rounded off)

Pennsylvania: Going from 41 cents to 60 cents by 2018.

Maryland: Going from 27 cents to 43 cents by 2016.

New Jersey: 14 cents.

New York: 49 cents.

Connecticut: 49 cents.

Virginia:11 cents.

Federal tax: 18 cents for gas and 24 cents for diesel

During a Jan. 29 press conference, Markell said $50 million would be borrowed each of the next five years by the Delaware Department of Transportation to fund identified but delayed projects that address transportation safety, congestion and maintenance. The combination of $50 million in new gas tax revenue and $50 million in borrowing would create an additional $500 million for transportation projects over the next five years, Markell said.

The state's fuel tax has not been increased since 1995.

“When it comes to funding transportation, there are no Democrat bridges or Republican roads,” Markell said. “Citizens and legislators know we have numerous unmet transportation needs in our state, yet we have asked DelDOT to labor under a funding process that has been broken for more than a decade.”

A 24-member Transportation Trust Fund Task Force – which recommended an increase in at least one revenue source – found that without increased revenue DelDOT spending could fall 30 percent short over the next decade. Among its recommendations to increase revenue and cut costs, the task force suggested transferring DelDOT operating costs from the trust fund to the general fund.

Senate Republican Leader Gary Simpson of Milford said a 10-cent increase is too steep. “People are being hit with higher taxes left and right throughout the state,” he said. “And I think now is the wrong time, without knowing all the details, to be passing such a hefty increase.”

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