Beshear proposes gas-tax increase to help fund road projects

jbrammer@herald-leader.comJanuary 21, 2014 

Gov. Steve Beshear talked to the media about his two-year budget plan on Tuesday January 21, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photos by Mark Cornelison | Staff

HERALD LEADER

FRANKFORT — Kentucky's tax on sales of gasoline, diesel and ethanol motor fuels at the pump would jump 1.5 cents a gallon under Gov. Steve Beshear's plan to make transportation improvements across the state.

Beshear said in his two-year budget proposal presented to lawmakers Tuesday that he wants to reverse a 1.5 cents-per-gallon decrease that automatically went into effect Jan. 1.

The automatic decrease will cost the state's Road Fund about $45 million a year, according to the state Transportation Cabinet.

In the 1980s, state lawmakers tied the gas tax to the average wholesale price of motor fuels, allowing it to rise, fall or stay unchanged every three months.

The gas tax, known as a variable excise tax, declined by 1.5 cents per gallon on Jan. 1, going from 25.9 cents per gallon to 24.4 cents per gallon. The last decrease in the excise tax was in October 2010.

Beshear is proposing about $1 billion in road construction projects each year.

His Road Fund budget includes funding for several major projects, including:

■ Widening to four lanes and extending the Mountain Parkway between Campton and Prestonsburg;

■ Completing the widening of Interstate 65 to six lanes between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown;

■ Continued funding for the Brent Spence Bridge project in Northern Kentucky and the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River bridges project;

■ Building new bridges on U.S. 68/KY 80 at Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake and completing the widening of U.S. 68/KY 80 to four lanes from Aurora to I-24 at Cadiz;

■ Continued spending for I-69 in Western Kentucky;

■ Widening KY 15 to four lanes from north of KY 80 near Bonnyman to south of KY 80 at the KY 15 bypass of Hazard;

■ Continuing the relocation of U.S. 460 between U.S. 23 and the Virginia state line;

■ Continuing work on the "Valley Floor" section of U.S. 119 in Letcher County between Partridge and Oven Fork;

■ Spending more than $500 million to repair or replace more than 250 substandard bridges across the state.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service