Montana Lawmakers Approve Airplane Fuel Tax Increase

Apr 24, 2019

A 1 cent per gallon tax increase on airplane fuel has passed the Montana Legislature and is headed to the governor’s desk.

House Bill 661 raises the Montana’s aviation fuel tax from 4 cents per gallon to 5 cents per gallon to fund grants for rural airport maintenance, like paving runways and taxiways and installing airport beacons.

The bill that now moves to Gov. Steve Bullock’s desk provides significantly less funding than the 10 cent increase in the fuel tax it initially called for.

Major airline companies, the Montana Chamber of Commerce and several of the state’s largest airports opposed the higher tax, saying it could hurt flight options and ticket prices.

The trade group Airlines for America, among other opponents, continued to stand against the one tax cent increase.

The Montana Pilots' Association supported the bill, and members of the organization say the 1 cent increase won’t provide all the funding needed for small airport maintenance projects.