On Gas Taxes, Kentucky Kicks the Can Down the Road

Kentucky’s 2019 regular legislative session ended Thursday without progress on infrastructure funding. House Bill 517, a comprehensive infrastructure funding bill, died without a vote. Similar legislation was introduced in 2018 but likewise did not receive a vote. House Bill 517 would have increased the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon (cpg), created a new electric vehicle highway user fee of $175 (tied to the price of gas), and increased license plate renewal fees from $11.50 to $22 for passenger vehicles and from $9 to $15 for motorcycles, among other changes. If enacted, this legislation would have generated nearly $500 million in additional annual revenue for the Road Fund. However, with 2019 being an off-budget year for Kentucky, new taxes and spending would require supermajority approval in order to pass. Like many states, Kentucky faces a backlog of road maintenance and construction projects, and existing transportation taxes and user fees are failing to keep pace…

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