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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Senate To Debate Gas Tax Increase

Revenue generated from the increased gas tax Montana lawmakers passed last year collected more than $6 million in its first four months.
Rusty Clark (CC-BY-NC-2)
The bill would raise the state's tax on gas by 8 cents a gallon and on diesel by 7.25 cents a gallon.

It’s the Senate’s turn to hear testimony on a bill to increase the gas tax in the state to generate a revenue stream for infrastructure projects.House Bill 473 passed out of the House on a 54-to-46 vote in March.

The bill would increase both the gas tax and diesel fuel tax by about eight cents per gallon and allocate part of the revenue to the Montana Highway Patrol and match funds for projects paid for by local government.

Republican Rep. Frank Garner is the sponsor of the bill and says with the increase, each year,

“Every cent produces about $8 million. This would be roughly $60 million that it produces,” Garner said.

Executive Director for the Montana Infrastructure Coalition Darryl James supported the bill during debate in a committee hearing.

“This isn’t a do-we-or-do-we-not pay for these road and bridge improvements, it’s just the mechanism that we do it,” James said.

The House re-referred the bill to an appropriations committee before it was transmitted to the Senate.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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