Colbert Commissioners approve gas tax increase request

By  | December 29, 2017 | Filed under: News

TUSCUMBIA – The Colbert County Commission approved the submission to the Colbert Legislative Delegation of a request for a gas tax increase today. Citing the great need for additional funding of $3-million dollars a year to maintain county roads, the Commission voted to ask the StateĀ  Legislature for authorization. County Engineer, John Bedford made his case in a special called session of the Commission, citing the deteriorating conditions of roadways and the shortfall of revenue required to effectuate repairs. The Commissioners held this special called meeting in the midst of the Christmas-New Years holidays, without any sense that there was anything inappropriate in the timing. Darol Bendall, Chairman of the Commission told the Quad-Cities Daily that the timing was due to the fact that the formal request had to be completed in just a couple of weeks before the start of the 2018 legislative session.

The County road maintenance program involves about 660 miles, 430 miles are asphalt. Asphalt costs about $120-thousand per mile to build. The County needs approximately 60 miles of roadwork of all types each year, plus bridge maintenance. According to Bedford, the shortfall is over $1-million. and that’s just to maintain minimal maintenance. The extra gas tax revenue would keep the county’s roadways and bridges in service. A benefit of tacking on this gas tax, rather than an ad valorem or property tax, is that the entities which use the roads and cause much of the destruction, namely logging trucks, would pay more than individuals driving their automobiles.

District 1 Commissioner, Tommy Barnes introduced to the Commission an amendment that would divide the gas tax up between roads and a railroad overpass in Sheffield along with county-wide introduction of high-speed internet. His proposed amendment was defeated.

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