The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would increase the gas tax by $.10 per-gallon.
The tax would raise about 40 million dollars for highway construction, and is viewed as a way to provide the Wyoming Department of Transportation a permanent revenue stream. The tax would rise from $.14 per-gallon to $.24.
Sen. Michael Von Flatern of Gillette claims that the tax increase would have limited impact on prices at the pump, but Baggs Sen. Larry Hicks was not convinced. Hicks tried to amend the bill to increase the tax by $.30 for large nozzle diesel pumps. Hicks wants to narrow the tax to those who drive large trucks.
“What’s driving the cost up is the heavy truck traffic on our interstate system,” Hicks says.
But Senator John Schiffer says targeting truckers is the wrong approach.
“What you are really doing is asking trucks to go over I-70, go to Colorado,” Schiffer says. “And say what you will about wear and tear on the highway, but truckers do spend money.”
Schiffer says it’s a highway system and every driver should pay a user fee for using the roads.
The amendment failed and the bill passed. It will be debated two more times.