CULLMAN – Yesterday, the Cullman County Commission voted to support a 3-cent per gallon gasoline tax to fund a $1.2 billion bond issue that would be distributed among Alabama’s 67 counties for road repairs. The tax would expire when the bonds are repaid.
The Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) will seek legislative approval for the proposal, called ATRIP2, during the upcoming legislative session. The proposal was approved at the ACCA’s annual legislative conference earlier this month.
Today, in response to the commissions in his district supporting the tax, Alabama Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview said in a release that he is not interested in sending more money to Montgomery in hopes of getting part of it back.
Shedd says he prefers to work with local county commissioners and local legislators to allow voters to approve additional gas tax for roads.
“I see three problems with this gas tax proposal," said Shedd. "It is a new tax without a vote of the people. It is borrowing money. It sends money to Montgomery hoping we get some of (it) back in road projects. I prefer to have a local referendum that spells out exactly what would be done with the money locally, never send it to Montgomery, spend 100 percent of it locally and let the people vote on it and decide if it’s worth it.”
Shedd says he understands people rarely vote to raise taxes, but he pointed out that last November the people of Blount County, which is in his legislative district, voted to do just that.
“Leaders of Blount County came to the legislative delegation with a specific plan which would add a new tax in Blount County and spelled out exactly how it would (be) spent, and a large portion of it went to roads. I sponsored the local legislation to let the people vote on it and the voters themselves decided it was worth it. It passed by a large margin because the leaders did a good job of explaining the need and we guaranteed by law how it would be spent, with 100 percent of it spent locally,” he stated.
Shedd added that if other county leaders would come to the local legislative delegation with a good plan and commit to explaining it to the voters he would sponsor local legislation to allow the people to vote on it (except in Blount County). He says the people of Blount County were very generous last November and he wouldn’t expect them to do it again.
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