A decision by the Alabama Legislature to raise the state's gas tax for the fist time since 1992 means drivers will pay 6 cents more per gallon of gasoline beginning Sept. 1.
The Legislature's decision was heralded by most of Limestone County's commissioners, who again publicly thanked members of the local legislative delegation for voting for the increase. At Friday's meeting, the commission approved a list of projects to be funded by the anticipated windfall from the tax hike.
County Engineer Marc Massey said the state will begin collecting the tax revenue in September, but it won't be distributed to counties until January. However, the new law stipulates a spending plan should be put together by Aug. 31 of each year.
At Wednesday's commission work session, Massey told commissioners to expect in the neighborhood of $740,000 in additional road money for 2020. That equates to $185,000 for each of the four road districts.
“I tried to give all the projects some cushion because I'd rather get all these done than have some drop off,” Massey told commissioners Wednesday. “I don't want us to be in a position where we don't have the money to do it.”
An additional 2-cent increase will be effective Oct. 1, 2020, and another 2 cents will be added on Oct. 1, 2021. Beginning Oct. 1, 2023, the tax will be adjusted up or down with the National Highway Construction Cost Index and could increase up to a penny every two years.
Massey said for each 2 cents added, the county should receive about $250,000 in additional road money. By 2023, he said, the county could receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 million from the gas tax.
Commissioners thanked the county's legislative delegation for their efforts to increase funding for county roads as part of Gov. Kay Ivey's Rebuild Alabama infrastructure plan. District 1 Commissioner Daryl Sammet also thanked Massey for compiling the list.
“We're going to see some good things happening across the state with this (gas tax) money,” Sammet said.
District 2 Commissioner Steve Turner and District 3 Commissioner Jason Black also publicly thanked lawmakers. Turner said he was glad to see some projects that would be happening “over the next year or so.”
“I thank you for standing up for what we really need, which is to fix these roads and make them safe,” Black said.
Projects included in the county's 2020 transportation plan include:
• Resurfacing and striping 2.09 miles of Bethel Road from Alabama 251 to the county line;
• Resurfacing and striping 2.28 miles of Sanderson Road from Nick Davis to Capshaw roads;
• Resurfacing and striping 0.58 miles of Capshaw Road from Sanderson to Old Railroad Bed roads;
• Resurfacing and striping 1.32 miles of Newby Road from Gray Road to U.S. 72;
• Strip-patching and chip-sealing 5.22 miles of Shaw Road from Nuclear Plant Road to U.S. 72;
• Reclaiming and surface-treating 2.31 miles of Snake Road from Shaw Road to the end of Snake Road;
• Reclaiming and surface-treating 0.35 miles of Warren Drive from Little Elk Road to the end of Warren Drive;
• Surface-treating 0.50 miles of Stanford Road from Fielding to Hardy roads; and
• Resurfacing and striping 2.86 miles of New Cut Road from Blackburn Road to Alabama 99.