The North Dakota Senate rejected a bill Friday that would have raised the state's gas tax by 3 cents per gallon.
Senators voted 16-29 on House Bill 1464, defeating the measure that aimed to fund road and bridge repairs via a tax increase on motor vehicle fuels such as gasoline and diesel. It also would have raised the annual fee paid by electric and hybrid vehicle drivers and prompted a study of how they affect transportation funding.
Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, spoke out against the proposal, saying the state is eyeing other means of paying for better infrastructure. That includes using earnings from the Legacy Fund oil tax savings accounting and bonding, as well as federal stimulus money headed to North Dakota.
"I am confident that we are going to put money into roads and bridges in our state," he said.
Sen. Mark Weber, R-Casselton, voted for the bill. He said he felt earnings from the Legacy Fund were intended for bigger one-time investments and not day-to-day needs.
"That's where I think three more cents on the gas tax can help, in that regard," he said.
Cities and counties were in favor of the bill. Electric vehicle drivers and auto manufacturers were opposed to an earlier iteration that would have essentially doubled the annual fee for electric and hybrid vehicles -- an amount they said was disproportionate to the proposed gas tax hike. The Senate amended those fees to lesser amounts before the bill died Friday.
North Dakota's gas tax has sat at 23 cents per gallon since 2005.
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