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Gas Tax Increase Passes First Hurdle

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A Senate Committee has given unanimous approval to a bill that would increase the gas tax 10 cents. SB 160’s sponsor, Sen. Kevin Van Tassell says while his bill isn’t perfect yet, it is a simple and understandable way to increase much needed transportation funding.

He also says it’s what his constituents are asking for.

“There are lots of ideas out there how to do it, we’re familiar with the gas tax, just charge us what you need to charge to get it done and maintain it," he says. "Don’t give me a lot of details and say we’re not raising the tax and then turn around and I’m paying more at the pump.”

Lee Peacock is the president of the Utah Petroleum Association. He was among several industry and local government representatives that praised the simplicity of this approach to the gas tax.

“It’s simple, it’s straight forward and it is easily administered," Peacock says. "We’ve done it for many years and it works extremely well.”

The current gas tax of 24 ½ cents per gallon hasn’t been raised in Utah since 1997.  Van Tassell says he’ll likely amend his bill before it goes to the Senate floor to include a way to keep the gas tax rate tied to inflation. 

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