The Pima County Board of Supervisors will ask the Arizona Legislature to raise the state gas tax by 10 cents a gallon in order to raise about $250 million for road repair statewide.
The board approved Pima Couny Administrator Chuck Huckelberry's proposal at its meeting today. The gasoline tax increase is one of several proposals Huckelberry suggested.
“If we’re going to fix our transportation system it’s time we take a very serious look at increasing transportation related taxes and fees," Huckelberry said.
The Arizona gasoline tax, which is 18-cents per gallon, has not been raised in more than 20 years, and dates back to when gasoline cost less than $1 per gallon.
The supervisors are also asking the state to change other funding mechanisms, including allowing local governments to spend some money designated for cleaning up underground storage tanks instead to pay for road repair.
The board is also asking state lawmakers to stop using transportation taxes to fund other parts of the state budget, a practice that has been ongoing for many years, and which local governments say is the main reason they have been unable to keep up with road maintenance.
“Our problem did not become acute, in other words, as serious as it is, until the state started taking 7-8-9 million dollars a year in HURF money that was designated for highway maintenance and repair,” Huckelberry said.
HURF is the state Highway User Revenue Fund, the main source of funding for state and county road projects.