The state House Finance Committee approved HB142 which would cap the gas tax at 37.5 cents. The gas tax is currently at 38.9 but it is projected to fall to 37.5 July 1. The variable part of the gas tax is calculated by the average cost of the wholesale price of gas and diesel fuel over a six month period. Legislative staff says it also estimated the gas tax could rise to over 40 cents next January although wholesale prices continue to decline.
Democrats on the committee said they were concerned about the lost revenue and the effect on road projects which the tax funds. However, Rep. Bill Brawley (R-Mecklenburg) pointed out the state budget only counted on a gas tax of 35.5 cents so it shouldn’t have much effect. He also complained previous legislative sessions diverted a lot of tax revenue away from road projects:
The new language in the bill would also delay any increase in ferry tolls. The tolls were going to increase starting in July, but HB142 instructs the Department of Transportation to delay any increase until after 2012-2013.