Planetizen Managing Editor James Brasuell tries to predict the big ideas and trends that will dominate the discussion about the future of land use, planning, and development in the first year of the new decade.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Hoosier State is on a roll, infrastructure speaking. Having passed its largest highway investment package last year based on a 10-cents per gallon gas tax hike, it initiated a study to determine the revenue potential for tolling interstates.
One of the criticisms of gas taxes is that it is regressive, i.e., everyone pays the same per-gallon price. A Mississippi legislator has a solution: Eliminate the income tax on the lowest income bracket in exchange for hiking the gas tax 12-cents.
California legislators have it easy compared to their counterparts in Oklahoma and Arkansas who seek to increase revenue through tax increases. A bill to hike gasoline and cigarette taxes and revise alcohol taxes faces a high hurdle.
After Gov. Kate Brown signs the comprehensive funding package, Oregon will be the eighth state this year to approve legislation to increase its gas tax and the first ever to add a bike tax to fund bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
The package, which doesn't tax walking and running shoes, went to the legislature on June 30. It includes a ten cents per gallon gas tax, a 0.10 percent payroll tax, a $15 tax on new bikes costing at least $200, and a potential toll on I–205.
Democratic Gov. Jim Justice signed legislation to increase its 32.2 cent state gas tax by about 3.5 cents per gallon and add substantial hybrid and EV fees. He also signed legislation to increase and expand road and bridge tolling.
The Democratic-controlled New Mexico legislature passed a 5-cents per gallon fuel tax increase and the Republican-controlled Assembly in Wisconsin backed a plan to apply sales tax to fuel, but their Republican governors oppose any tax hikes.
Just past midnight on Saturday morning, the Indiana State Senate passed the transportation plan after the Housed approved it Friday. It also passed a $32 billion, two-year state budget bill, then adjourned for the year, one week ahead of schedule.
Both chambers of Tennessee's General Assembly approved Gov. Bill Haslam's transportation plan on April 19, which hikes diesel taxes by 10 cents per gallon but lowers other taxes. Indiana appears poised to follow with a 10-cent gas tax increase.
On April 6, the Senate and Assembly passed a comprehensive transportation funding package that it had been unable to do for years, thanks to much deal-making by Gov. Jerry Brown. The gas tax will increase by 12 cents per gallon on November 1.
Even if newly revised transportation legislation supported by Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders to raise fuel taxes and fees should pass into law, the funding mechanism may not prove sustainable in the long term.