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May 2, 2016 12:30 PM, EDT

Alabama Won’t Raise Fuel Taxes After All

Less than three weeks after seeming poised to approve a fuel-tax increase for the first time since 1992, Alabama has joined Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi and West Virginia and did not do so during its legislative session this year.

Such efforts remain in play in Alaska, which has gone way beyond the scheduled April 17 conclusion of its session, California (whose session ends Aug. 31), Minnesota (May 23), Missouri (May 13) and New Jersey (January 2017), while South Carolina (June 2) is likely to follow Indiana in increasing transportation funding without raising fuel taxes.

Missouri’s Senate has passed a 5.9 cents-per-gallon increase, a measure now being considered by the House Transportation Committee. Gov. Jay Nixon supports the hike.

These results pale in comparison with the previous four years, when 16 states raised fuel taxes, including eight that did so in 2015.

Alabama’s House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a transportation funding formula last month. The proposed 6 cents-a-gallon increase had the support of Gov. Robert Bentley but ultimately failed to get beyond the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee.

“We’re very disappointed,” said Frank Filgo, president of the Alabama Trucking Association, who added that the increase was supported by most of the state’s business community. “We’re gonna have bad roads and more congestion. I thought we had a 50-50 shot, but the leadership in the House wanted a guarantee [if the bill passed] that the Senate would vote on the bill. Given the Senate rules, which allows filibustering, it needed 21 of 35 votes to invoke cloture. That wasn’t obtainable because a lot of the Republican delegation are no-tax guys. I think the chances of passing a fuel-tax [increase] with this Legislature are pretty remote [even after the November elections].”

Alabama Trucking had lobbied for an 11 cents-a-gallon increase but was satisfied with the proposal for a nickel less because it was indexed to the four-year average of the neighboring states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.