The House Public Transportation Committee this morning began work on proposals to increase the gas tax for highways.
Two bills were on the agenda this morning. One provides for a highway bond issue and another would apply the state sales tax (6.5 percent) to gasoline and diesel at the wholesale level to produce highway construction money. Both measures would be referred to voters and not take effect without approval in 2018.
A committee staff member said only the bond issue legislation was considered this morning because time ran out. It was approved on a voice vote. Many steps to go.
At current prices, the increase would add 11 cents or so a gallon to fuel, but underwrite hundreds of millions in road construction, work constricted by evaporating funding at the state and federal level.
UPDATE: After the House adjourned Thursday afternoon the committee met again briefly and also endorsed the fuel tax bill.