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Another Republican-Controlled State to Increase its Gas Tax

It will be no April fools joke when motorists pay an extra six-cents per gallon at gas pumps in the Mount Rushmore State on April 1 thanks to actions of the legislature on March 13 and the likely signing of the bill by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
March 18, 2015, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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On Friday, the South Dakota legislature voted to support a six-cent hike in the gas tax plus an increase in registration fees, effective April 1, to raise over $50 million. They had to clear a two-thirds threshold. Governor Dennis Daugaard supports the bill.

The vote in each chamber had a two-thirds threshold to surmount. As a result, the measure will raise over $50 million for needed road and bridge repairs. The gas tax will increase 27 percent.

"A House-Senate conference reportedly reached agreement the morning of March 13, and both chambers approved the accord later that day," according to AASHTO Journal. "The House version aimed to raise more than $50 million in its first year mainly through a combination of phased-in motor fuel fee increases along with higher fees on vehicles."

The Senate vote on the settlement was 25-9, reports The Associated Press via Keloland TV, followed by the House vote of 55-11 (AP via KTIV reporting).

In January, we noted that South Dakota Gov. Daugaard had advocated for a "perpetual two-cents annual increase" in the gas tax to fund state and local roads and bridge repairs. A spokesman indicated he supports the House-Senate settlement.

The state's 22-cent gas tax [PDF] was last raised in 1999. Even with the six-cents increase on April 1, it will be about two-cents below the state average of about 30-cents per gallon, similar to the anticipated five-cents increase in Utah.

As with the Beehive State, the actions by the Republican-controlled legislature and anticipated signing the by the Republican governor show that maintaining infrastructure is non-partisan priority. According to Wikipedia, "since 1996 the Republican Party of South Dakota has had a supermajority in State Senate and since the 1976 election, the Republican Party of South Dakota has had a supermajority in State House." 

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Published on Friday, March 13, 2015 in AASHTO Journal
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