Amherst Rep. Robert Rowe: Why I voted against the gasoline tax hike

To the Editor:

We are all aware that the roads and bridges in Amherst and other communities throughout New Hampshire are in a dismal state.

As a means to obtain additional funds to repair our state infrastructure, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 367. This bill increases the gasoline tax by an additional 4.2 cents a gallon. This is a 23 percent increase. It was my hope that all revenues from this tax revenue would be distributed to our cities and towns. Not so – 42 percent of the revenues will be allocated to one project, the widening of I-93, an additional portion of the revenue goes to nonconstruction purposes, such as funding the state police.

Amendments were presented so that if the bill passed, all the revenue would be directed to the cities and towns. This amendment failed and the municipalities will receive only 33 percent of the tax revenue.

I voted against the bill for four reasons: First, the increase harms many New Hampshire workers who commute long distances to work. Second, this will increase the cost of trucking products. The increased cost will be added to the products and passed on to all of us. Third, I-93 is already funded in the 10-year highway fund. Fourth, it should all go for local roads and bridges, but most towns will see little more than 1 percent of the revenue and the funds received need not be used by the towns for road and bridge repair.

The increase in cost of gasoline is only one of many small taxes, or fees if you desire to call them, will be passed on to the citizens of our state.