Scott opposes push to raise gas tax to fund local roadwork

Published: Feb. 14, 2019 at 3:20 PM EST
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Towns and cities across Vermont want to raise the gas tax to pay for road work but the governor says he's opposed.

Municipal officials were at the Statehouse in force Thursday for Local Government Day. One of their biggest requests is a 4-cent increase in the gas tax with the revenue dedicated to fixing local roads.

Strafford Select Board member John Freitag says local governments must use the property tax to pay for local road repairs in addition to state assistance. But there isn't enough money to cover needs.

Waterbury Select Board Chairman Chris Viens says his town needs about $25 million in road repairs.

"We would literally, to fix our paid roads, we would literally have to double our municipal tax rate and that's inconceivable," Viens said.

"It's necessary because our roads and bridges are falling apart and we're not keeping up with the maintenance needed," Freitag said. "The only-- the main source that towns have for maintaining the roads and bridges are property taxes and there's a limit on how much we can ask people to do."

Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, and the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association are opposed because it will increase price disparity with Massachusetts and New Hampshire.