Peter Park is the director of Peter J. Park, LLC and a former planning director of Denver and Milwaukee. In this interview, Park shares insights from a career of leadership in though and action in the field of urban planning.
Having completed a pilot program last year, the Washington State Transportation Commission will hear a report in October and vote in December on phasing out its 49.4 cents per gallon gas tax, fourth highest in the nation but not indexed to inflation.
On July 1, Illinois and Ohio increased gas taxes by double digits: 19 cents per gallon and 10.5 CPG, respectively, followed by California at 5.6 CPG, all due to legislation passed this year or in 2017. Diesel tax hikes were even higher.
Reducing the number of traffic lanes to improve bike and pedestrian safety can be inherently controversial when auto travel times are increased, and it can upset motorists further when they learn gas taxes are funding those safety improvements.
Currently, electric vehicles pay a $17.50 annual registration fee in Illinois. A bill to double the 19 cents per gallon gas tax, unchanged in almost 30 years, would also increase the EV fee over 57-fold to $1,000.
The state with the highest fuel taxes has the second most structurally deficient bridges. According to the Pennsylvania state auditor's new report, diversion of $4.2 billion to fund the state police during the last six years is to blame.
The 3 cent gas tax and 6 cent diesel tax increases are among the lowest of any states that have hiked fuel taxes since 2013, but combined with other revenue sources in the legislation, plus an upcoming sales tax ballot measure, it's historic.
Motorists who purchase gas along the I-81 corridor will pay an additional 2.1 percent gas tax, about seven cents a gallon. Trucks, which disproportionately use the corridor, will see increases to registration fees and road and diesel taxes.
On July 1, motorists in Ohio will pay an additional 10.5 cents per gallon to fill up, while truckers will pay 19 cents per gallon more on diesel fuel sales. Accompanying the tax hikes are two controversial provisions that DeWine chose not to veto.
Thanks to bipartisan cooperation and strong leadership from Gov. Kay Ivey, the Heart of Dixie passed it first fuel tax hike in 27 years. The 21 cents per gallon tax will increase by 10 cents in three increments by 2021 and then indexed to inflation.
Gretchen Whitmer has outdone the new Democratic governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, who proposed a 20 cents tax hike. Like Walz's budget, gas tax revenue would replace some general funds directed to road spending, thus benefiting other state programs.
New Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has reversed the position of his campaign, when he pledged to toll only heavy trucks to tackle traffic congestion. In an op-ed, Lamont explains why all vehicles must be tolled. He also rules out a gas tax hike.
Assembly and Senate Republicans agree that the best way to fill the transportation funding gap is to add tolls to existing highways and bridges, yet they won't add toll infrastructure funding to the budget. A gas tax could be implemented immediately.
Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who took office on Jan. 7, wants to hike the state's 28.6-cents gas tax, 15% lower than the national average, so cities like Duluth won't have to ask voters to pass sales tax increases to fund local road repairs.
Missouri legislators approved a bill at the end of the legislative session to place a 10-cents per gallon gas tax increase on the ballot to fund road repair. It had the support of Gov. Mike Parson but was rejected by nearly 54 percent of voters.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker charges that his Democratic opponent, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, will hike gas taxes by as much as a dollar a gallon to fund road repair, on top of raising income and property taxes.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner might as well have accused his Democratic opponent of wanting to hike the gas tax. J.B. Pritzker denies he plans to introduce a VMT fee but admits that he's open to all ideas to raise revenue to maintain infrastructure.