Lawmaker Looks To Pass Gas Tax Hike

New revenue would help fund Metro

By Andy Salsman
|  Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 AM EDT
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Lawmaker Looks To Pass Gas Tax Hike

What’s the best way to help pay for Metro? Charge drivers more to fill their gas tanks, according to one D.C. councilman.

Jim Graham introduced a bill Tuesday to raise the gasoline tax in the District by a dime per gallon. That would make the tax 33.5 cents a gallon. The money would help fund Metro, which has no permanent revenue source and is facing a budget deficit of nearly $190 million.

“Each and every year, we have to pull together this crazy patchwork quilt of various jurisdictions contributing various monies without the opportunity to have a dedicated tax revenue source for our rail system,” Graham told the Washington Business Journal. “I know this is perhaps not the most advisable thing to do in an election year, but we’ve got to step forward and say we’re willing to consider a dedicated tax.”

Some transportation advocates support Graham’s plan.

“The reality is we need more funding for transportation,” Ben Ross told the Washington Examiner. “Anyone that makes a proposal in that direction is making a contribution.”

Other groups, including AAA, oppose it.

“Motorists are already subsidizing Metro,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Lon Anderson told the Examiner. “We hope that that idea ends up in the dustbin of history.”

The proposed tax would give the District the ninth-highest gas tax nationwide, a Graham spokesman told the Examiner.

Graham’s proposal may remain just that: a proposal. That’s because Maryland and Virginia jurisdictions in Metro’s compact must agree to enact the same gas tax increases. Many experts say that isn’t likely. 

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