Members of the 110th Tennessee General Assembly have officially passed House Bill 534, the “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads, and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy (IMPROVE) Act.” Governor Bill Haslam introduced the Gas Tax in January in order to help fund the state’s $10 billion backlog of road construction projects.
This raises the gas tax by 6 cents and the diesel tax by 10 cents over the next 3 years. Registration fees for most cars will also increase by $5, commercial automobiles by $10 and other large vehicles will be paying $15 extra. Electric cars will see a new $100 registration fee.
"I have always said we must find a dedicated source of funding in order to pay for our roads and bridges in Tennessee. After hearing feedback from our community voicing strong opposition to the plan and the tax increases it contains, I did not support the increase in gas taxes. Instead, I supported an alternative plan that also would have created a reliable funding source for infrastructure without raising taxes on any Tennesseans. However, a majority of my colleagues disagreed with my decision, the Gas Tax Increase passed, and Governor Haslam signed the bill last week," said Representative Mark Pody
"The passage of the new infrastructure funding bill means the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and our local governments will have more money to spend on road projects — TDOT will see increased revenue of $240 million per year. In total, counties across the state will receive $79 million and cities will see a revenue increase of approximately $35 million per year to use for local road and infrastructure projects. In DeKalb County alone, the county will receive an extra $146,539 thousand in Diesel Taxes and $409,103 thousand in Gasoline Taxes," Pody continued.
City/County Location Diesel Gasoline
DeKalb County $146,539 (Diesel) $409,103 (Gasoline)
Smithville $ 11,790 (Diesel) $ 32,729 (Gasoline)
Alexandria $ 2,514 (Diesel) $ 6,979 (Gasoline)
Dowelltown $ 924 (Diesel) $ 2,565 (Gasoline)
Liberty $ 807 (Diesel) $ 2,240 (Gasoline)
The legislation will help fund 3 projects identified by the state as needed for future development.
Route Project Description
0A095 Holmes Creek Road bridge over Fall Creek
0A330 Old Dry Creek Road bridge over Dry Creek
US70(SR26) Nashville Highway from West of Wilson County
Line to near SR-96 in Dekalb County
"The Gas tax bill does reduce taxes by more than $300 million annually. These tax breaks include a 1% reduction on the sales tax on food. The legislation will also help all Tennesseans by lowering some high taxes on Tennessee manufacturers. We need businesses that provide high paying, steady jobs here in this state. Finally this act adds a set schedule to eliminate the Halls Income Tax. I agree with all these reductions and have fought for them," said Representative Pody.
"Having all these different issues on the same bill is another reason for my opposition to the act. One big difference between Nashville and Washington, D.C. has been how Tennessee considers and votes on legislation. In Washington, they combine many issues and laws together. This makes it very hard to keep pork and special interest projects out of good pieces of legislation. We all have seen these silly and expensive projects come out of our nation’s capitol. Back home, we traditionally take up each issue individually. That process has set us apart from the rest of the nation. We did not follow that procedure on the Gas tax increase," Pody added.
"Even though we have some positive things that will come from the Gas Taxes — sadly, it also means increased taxes for each of us. The families of our community have been consistent expressing opposition to an additional tax increase throughout this entire process. In a year where we are experiencing a historic budget surplus, we should have chosen to fund our roads and bridges within our current budget and not raise taxes at the expense of Tennesseans across our state. As always, I remain committed to listening to the voice of our community throughout the remainder of the 2017 legislative session and the years ahead,"Pody said.
Mark Pody serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Consumer & Human Resources Committee. He is also a member of the House Consumer & Human Resources Subcommittee and House Insurance & Banking Committee. He lives in Lebanon and represents House District 46, which includes all of Cannon and part of Wilson and DeKalb Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Mark.Pody@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-7086.