Christian County Magistrate Darrell Gustafson said he believes that now, with low gas prices in the market, is the opportune time to try to pass a gas tax because the impact won’t be as great on the pocketbook.
Both he and Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble said they are “cautiously optimistic” that a gas tax will be passed in Kentucky.
“Anyone that drives on the roads knows they’re deteriorating,” Gustafson noted. “It won’t get cheaper. It’s time to get them fixed.”
He and Tribble, along with Christian County Magistrates Mark Cansler and Rich Liebe, went to Frankfort on Tuesday to attend a gas tax rally.
The Christian Fiscal Court meeting that would have taken place on that day was re-scheduled for Wednesday to accommodate the trip.
“This is, of course, about House Bill 580,” Liebe noted of local officials’ decision to attend the rally and voice their support for a measure that would make possible additional motor fuel tax funds for the state.
Those additional funds would be generated through an increase in gas taxes, in vehicle registration fees and in annual fees for people who drive electric cars, among other aspects of a bill that supporters are hoping will create more revenue for the state’s road fund.
Liebe observed that Kentucky’s roads and bridges are in really bad shape, and he said a tax is needed to make them functional and safe.
“Our roads are in a deteriorating condition,” he said.
Officials noted that additional funds would be a boon for interstate transportation and commerce as well as jobs, and they said they also want to leave some infrastructure for the state’s younger residents.
Cansler said a tax would provide the state with funds that could be matched with other available funds and used to replace aging bridges.
Tribble pointed to several local roads that are to be repaved under the Kentucky Secondary Road Program, and he noted that those roads are just a sample of roads all over the state that are in need of repairs.
He noted that “every state around us has passed a gas tax,” and Tribble said he thinks that people want to drive on good roads.
The local fiscal court passed a resolution last year in support of additional funds for the state’s transportation needs, Tribble said.
House Bill 580 was filed last week by the state House of Representatives.
Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or email@example.com.