Other legislators waiting to see details

By ED HOWELL
Posted 1/20/19

Other local legislators are taking a wait-and-see approach on a proposed gas tax. When asked by the Daily Mountain Eagle to comment, state Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, said in a text that a bill …

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Other legislators waiting to see details

Posted

Other local legislators are taking a wait-and-see approach on a proposed gas tax. 

When asked by the Daily Mountain Eagle to comment, state Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, said in a text that a bill has not been drafted. 

"Until I review any bill, I cannot make a decision on it. The people of Alabama elected me to make an informed decision," he wrote. "Currently, I don't have a bill and as such I cannot tell if any proposed bill would benefit our counties." 

Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper, released a statement  Friday, saying, “I think nearly everyone agrees that Alabama’s infrastructure isn't in great condition. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated Alabama's roads with a D+ grade. So we have to ask ourselves, 'What is the best way to fix this problem?' Because we all want to make sure that our roads and bridges are as safe as possible for the people of Alabama. There have been some productive discussions between legislative leadership and Governor Ivey, and I will continue to study this issue very closely as we move towards the beginning of the legislative session in March.”

Discussion of what is being defined as infrastructure funding is in full swing in Montgomery, said District 17 state Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, who represents part of Winston County. He said the issue has become very important to the governor. 

"Any potential debate will center around the specific details of the plan, as there is no doubt in my mind the governor is determined to bring this issue before the Legislature," Estes said in an email when approached by the Eagle. "She has discussed this with lawmakers in recent weeks, especially with members of the leadership teams in the House and Senate." She also discussed the matter with new House members at a December reception.  

"While I would never want to commit my support either in favor of or in opposition to her plan at this early stage in the process, I am certainly willing to listen to her proposal," Estes said. "I suspect any plan the governor brings to the Legislature will be reviewed and amended in order to create as much support as possible. I am anxious to see the specifics, such as how many cents per gallon the tax would include. Will any new funding be phased in over a two- or three-year period?"

Estes said the factor that creates the most discussion in the hallways of the State House centers on how the money will be divided between the state, the counties and the municipalities.

"Any time a revenue increase like this is discussed, I am confident healthy debate will be a part of the process. As a new lawmaker, I am expecting to learn quite a bit in the coming weeks," he said.