Every time you fill up at the pump in Vermont, nearly 40 cents per gallon gets siphoned off. The state pulls 20 cents into its coffers and about 18 cents flow into a federal pool. The two sources account for all but 2 percent of the state's approximately half-a-billion dollar transportation budget.
Vt. Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Searles says the funding formula needs to change.
"This is a classic good news, bad news situation," Searles said.
Since 2004, drivers now cover less mileage in more fuel-efficient cars, but gas taxes no longer bring in enough money. Vermont is projected to run a $240 million deficit over the next five years.
"We just don't have the capacity to handle this on our own," Searles said.
Searles says Vermont can delay repairs or even close roadways, but he says the problem is systemic, structural, and sustained, and federal reform is the only path to a long-term fix.
Steve Jeffrey, a spokesperson for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, has less faith in Washington, D.C.
"Not only because of the current stalemate, but the fact that there has not been the interest in Congress to raise the gas tax since 1993," Jeffrey said.
Vt. Senate Transportation Committee chairman Dick Mazza says this year he expects the shortfall to be between $20 million and $30 million. He says the Legislature will likely find a short-term patch at the state level, through shifts in gas tax calculation or bonds.
"We must address this problem and working together, I think we can come out of this," said Mazza, D-Grand Isle County.
State and federal leaders are also considering a system where drivers are taxed by miles driven, rather than gas consumed. However, even proponents say that solution is at least a decade down the road.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 11:54 PM EDT2013-06-20 03:54:35 GMT
Cornwall is the latest town saying no to a plan to bring natural gas to the International Paper Mill at Ticonderoga. "I will fight you tooth and nail, I don't want this for any of us on any level," saidMore >>
Cornwall is the latest town saying no to a plan to bring natural gas to the International Paper Mill at Ticonderoga.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:12 PM EDT2013-06-19 22:12:23 GMT
A big drug sweep in Springfield this morning targeted drug dealers.More >>
Dozens of alleged drug dealers are behind bars after police conducted a large drug sweep throughout Windsor County. WCAX's Jennifer Reading was with police and got exclusive access during Wednesday's roundup.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 4:36 PM EDT2013-06-19 20:36:22 GMT
Burlington police are investigating a hit-and-run accident. Police say Monday at 4:10 p.m., a woman was walking in the crosswalk at College St. near the Waterman Building at UVM, when she was hit by anMore >>
Police are asking the public for help identifying the suspect in a hit-and-run accident on College Street in Burlington.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 10:03 AM EDT2013-06-19 14:03:21 GMT
A former Customs Agent will sell more more than 150 guns that were seized from his Brattleboro home during a 2011 raid. Special Agent Richard Bernholz pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to filingMore >>
A former Customs Agent will sell more more than 150 guns that were seized from his Brattleboro home during a 2011 raid.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 6:54 PM EDT2013-06-19 22:54:38 GMT
A propane leak forced evacuations in St. Albans Wednesday. Investigators say someone was operating a hydraulic lift at a property on Lakeshore Drive when the top of an underground tank was clipped, causingMore >>
Several homes in St. Albans were evacuated Wednesday after an underground tank was damaged and started to leak.More >>
Wednesday, June 19 2013 7:48 PM EDT2013-06-19 23:48:02 GMT
"At 0.05 you are already impaired. The danger of being on the road is real," said Rep. Bill Lippert, D-Hinesburg. State Representative Bill Lippert thinks the current standard to determine if someone isMore >>
A Vermont lawmaker wants to cut the legal limit for drunk driving nearly in half. Proponents say the proposal will save lives; opponents say it will kill business.More >>