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12 OYS: Rising gas taxes won't mean better road transportation

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The flyovers connecting Riverwatch parkway to the medical district and downtown are not yet a year old. But the $30 million project, convenient for many drivers, came from an inconvenience -- gas prices.

"I remember when gas used to be 57 cents a gallon!" said Willie Mitchell.

Many years and three dollars later and Mitchell now takes the bus and rides a bike to save gas.

Now the latest fuel folly -- higher gas taxes. In Georgia, an automatic tax tied to gas prices will cost you three cents more per gallon. You'll pay a nickel more if you live in counties with a local option sales tax.

"Even after the state raises their taxes, then you gotta turn around and worry about what's happening the middle east and worry about the cost of a barrel of gas, it gets worse and worse it seems like."

Between $700-800 million from state gas taxes and another $1.1 billion from federal gas taxes pays for road improvements in Georgia.

Tax revenues have already surpassed that with two months left this fiscal year.

But that extra money won't mean new or better roads, according to state leaders. It will take $12 billion during the next decade just to maintain the roads and bridges you drive on.


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