Raise the Gas Tax, Residents say
Attendees at a hearing hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation say a higher tax on gasoline can fund private and public transportation improvement projects.
In an unusual situation, speakers Thursday night at Attleboro City Hall demanded the state raise a tax. Numerous attendees at a hearing hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said the state's gasoline tax must be increased to fund improvements to streets, bridges and public transportation.
Massachusetts drivers pay 41.9 cents per gallon on gas and 47.9 cents per gallon on diesel fuel in state and federal taxes. The gas tax total is the 29th-highest in the country, according to various sources. New York is ranked first. California and Connecticut are tied for second place.
The state charges 21 cents per gallon on gas and diesel, according to the Department of Revenue. The tax was last raised in 1991, various sources report. Speakers on Thursday said this means people are paying much less than they were more than 20 years ago because of inflation and modern vehicles being more fuel-efficient.
Massachusetts drivers pay an additional 2.5 cents per gallon to support the state's underground storage tank clean-up fund. This tax began in 1992 at .5 cents per gallon and was quintupled in 2003 by Gov. Mitt Romney, according to the Boston Globe.
The federal government's fuel tax rate is 18.4 cents per gallon on gas and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel.
The hearing on Thursday was one of several that have taken place throughout Massachusetts in recent months in a series titled "Your Vision, Our Future: A Transportation Conversation." More than 40 people attended the event, including residents from Attleboro and other areas, transportation planning professionals, politicians and representatives from advocacy groups. More than 20 people spoke, talking about a range of transportation issues affecting both private and public methods of travel.
Information obtained at the hearing in Attleboro and other locations will be used to form a report next month.