Legislators in four states – Tennessee, Montana, California and Indiana – have voted to increase their state gas tax to support new transportation improvements. The respective governors of each state are expected to sign the measures. This brings the total number of states that have increased fuel taxes since 2013 to 21.
“The voters in these states understand that lawmakers are showing political will to increase resources for transportation investment. For the majority of these states, their gas tax had not been raised in over 15 years,” said American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black. “It is now up to Congress and the Trump administration to address the stability of the Highway Trust Fund, which provides revenue for over half of all state highway program capital outlays.”
Politicians who fear political fallout from supporting a gas tax increase have little to worry about, according to ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC). An examination of more than 2,500 state legislators from 16 states finds 91 percent of lawmakers who supported legislation to increase their state gas tax between 2013 and 2015 and ran for re-election won their seat during the next general election.
- Of the Republican state legislators who supported a gas tax increase, 95 percent were re-elected, the same re-election rate as those officials who voted against the gas tax increase.
- Democrats who voted for a gas tax increase were re-elected at 89 percent, compared to 86 percent who voted against the same legislation.
Additional analysis of the 2016 primary elections in the eight states that passed a gas tax increase in 2015 found that 98 percent of Republican and 98 percent of Democratic lawmakers who approved a gas tax increase and ran for their seat in a primary race moved on to the general election, compared to 97 percent of legislators who had voted “no” on the gas tax increase.