Wyoming Reports Road Improvements From 10-Cent Gas Tax Increase

Wyoming legislators passed its gas tax hike in Feb. 2013, an incredible 71 percent increase when the state then had the second to lowest tax. AASHTO reports that the WYDOT has already completed 12 projects with the additional revenue.

2 minute read

October 5, 2014, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Road users in the Cowboy State are enjoying better road conditions on non-interstate highways due to an influx of revenue resulting from last year's gas tax increase.

"The Wyoming Department of Transportation [WYDOT] has finished a dozen pavement upgrades on 89 miles of highway surface, tapping part of about $46 million it received from the first full year of a 2013 increase in gasoline and diesel," according to the AASHTO Journal. An additional $23 million was directed to cities and counties, they add.

Eight states raised their gas taxes in July, 2013, wrote Ryan Holleywell of Governing, though none as high as Wyoming, which resulted in the state leaping from #49 to #30 in gas tax rankings [PDF] according to the American Petroleum Institute. But the tax hike was significant in another perspective: It broke the three and a half year freeze on all state gas tax increases, according to Pew's recent surface transportation funding report [PDF, pg. 15], summarized here.

As for the legislators being punished by the voters for hiking their gas taxes as some opponents of raising gas taxes might suspect would happen, it didn't happen, wrote Teddy Ledere in his T4America Blog in August after the state primary election. The legislators who had voted to raise the gas tax overwhelmingly won their races.

In WYDOT's press release, Director John Cox notes the cost savings for his department in the next three years by "prolonging the life of the pavement in ways that will be visible and will improve the driving conditions on the highways.”

Deteriorating road conditions in New Jersey, the state that replaced Wyoming in the gas tax rankings as #50 (including District of Columbia), recently produced a report on the costs to motorists of not raising the state gas tax.

And rather than seeing their budget shrink as have some state departments of transportation may have experienced due to failure to raise gas taxes, WYDOT saw a 15 percent in its construction budget for fiscal 2012, notes the press release.

Friday, October 3, 2014 in AASHTO Journal

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