Senators and representatives say the problem is clear. Gas taxes are bringing in less now that Vermonters drive less in more fuel efficient vehicles. The result: not enough money to care for the Green Mountain State's roads and bridges.
"I'd love to find a way to get rid of the second $0.02 on diesel," said Sen. Peg Flory, R-Rutland County.
The Senate Finance Committee spent Tuesday reviewing a compromise proposal from its sister committee in the House. The revenue comes mostly from gas, but also includes registrations, bonds, diesel and other sources. The House's original proposal raises the bulk of new revenue by decreasing the flat tax, but adding a sales tax and linking the rates to inflation. The proposal would raise almost $100 million over the next three years.
The Senate put forward a similar proposal, which limits the gas hike by tapping diesel more, but ignores inflation and raises less over time.
The compromise proposal narrows the gap, but not enough for legislators who thought they sealed the deal when they left Friday.
"I don't think we like it," said Sen. Jane Kitchel, D-Caledonia County.
"No, it's much different than I thought," said Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle County.
House Transportation Chairman Patrick Brennan says he's concerned that a short-term fix will eat up time session after session.
"I appreciate dropping the cent per gallon as you did in yours, but I think it's only like a two-year fix," said Brennan, R-Colchester.
But senators argue that because tax revenue projections are based in part on gas price projections, it doesn't make sense to worry about multiple years down the road.
"I don't know what to predict," Mazza said.
"I think we may have to sit down in conference committee," Brennan said. "I just don't feel we're going to get anywhere spinning our wheels."
Putting together a committee of representatives and senators to hash out the issue would cost the state more time. If legislators idle beyond May 1, between $1.6 million and $1.9 million of new taxes dollars could go out the window.
Some lawmakers say they're tempted to let transportation dollars run on empty for a while, but that would mean the loss of more than $35 million in federal matching grants.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>