By Joshua Scheer, reporter, county10.com
(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – At about 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Gov. Matt Mead signed into law a bill that would provide revenue for the Wyoming Department of Transportation through an increased fuel tax.
House Bill 69, now House Enrolled Act 38, will increase the gasoline tax from 14 cents to 24 cents per gallon. The same increase applies to diesel. The change will go into effect on July 1.
According to the bill, any increased revenue obtained by the additional taxation will be put toward the ongoing maintenance of state highways. A report on the tax will be conducted this winter for the Joint Appropriations Interim Committee.
Mead and others at the bill signing talked about what a long process to has been to get to this point. Rep. Michael Madden, R-Buffalo, said he’d been working on finding additional road funding for six years.
“This was not done quickly,” Mead said. “This was not done flippantly.”
Mead said over the years the approach has changed, noting previous discussions about toll roads. He said the general fund had been supplementing the WyDOT’s budget, and that means money that would go to other programs was being put toward the highways.
“Roads will continue to be a long term need,” Mead said, later admitting that “Nobody likes the idea of taxes.”
He said he understands that there will be an effect at the gas pump, but right now no one knows the magnitude of effect.
Mead saidWyDOT will need to continue to work wisely with its money, spending “every penny wisely.” However, he does not believe more efficient spending measures would have brought WyDOT where it needs to be.
Fremont County Legislators who supported the bill were: Rep. Rita Campbell, R-Shoshoni; Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete; and Rep. Lloyd Larsen, R-Lander.
Those who opposed the bill were: Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton; Rep. Nathan Winters, R-Thermopolis (including Shoshoni); Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander; and Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton.