Recently introduced for consideration by the Wyoming legislature is a bill that would increase the tax on fuel over the next two years.

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The bill, House Bill 14, would increase the tax on gasoline, alternative fuel, and diesel from 24 cents a gallon to 29 cents a gallon starting on July 1, 2022, up to 34 cents a gallon starting July 1, 2023, and then to 39 cents a gallon starting on July 1, 2024.

The anticipated revenue generated by the tax for the highway fund would be $22,450,000 for the fiscal year 2023, $44,900,000 for the fiscal year 2024, and $67,350,000 for the fiscal year 2025.

Donald Burkhart Jr., chairman of the committee on Transportation, Highways, and Military Affairs, said the bill is being proposed to help maintain Wyoming roads.

"We do need to fund our highways, and our highways are slowly declining in quality and in maintenance, there are a variety of reasons for that," Burkhart said. "Vehicles have gotten much better mileage than they did in the past, which means the amount of fuel use is lower... In 2013 where the fuel tax was raised, I believe 10 cents if I remember correctly. The way fuel is marketed, taxed, and sold, an increase does not relate directly to the price at the pump...A study by the University of Wyoming on the price at the pump, if I remember correctly, went up nine-tenths of a cent."

Burkhart said he believes the state will get a 90/10 match from the federal government because of the infrastructure bill, meaning if Wyoming provides 10% of the funding for projects involving roads and bridges, which he thinks could partially come from the gas tax increase, the federal government will provide the other 90%.

Burkhart said because the bill involves increasing taxes, he thinks it may have a hard time making its way through the legislature.

"I really don't see that bill having an easy go of it," Burkhart said. "I think it would be a very hard bill. I can't speculate because most of the time I'm wrong with those speculations. But I would say that bill would have a very very hard time making an introduction. Especially at this time with a considerable amount of money. But this does raise the issue with the legislature and the people with how do we fund our roads."

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