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Maddox releases infrastructure plan, touts increased gas tax

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox released his new infrastructure plan that calls for an increase in the gasoline tax, which has been a controversial issue for the Legislature.

Maddox’s campaign announced the decision on Wednesday through a campaign statement that reiterated the conditions of Alabama’s roads.

In the statement, Maddox’s campaign cites a study by the American Society of Civil Engineers that gave Alabama’s bridges a grade of C- and roads a D+. Maddox credited the low grade to the lack of funding to infrastructure and the statewide gas tax that hasn’t been raised since 1992.

“Alabama currently has one of the lowest gas taxes in the country, but you get what you pay for so we also have some of the worst roads,” the statement read.

Specifically, Maddox is getting behind a plan by the Alliance for Alabama Infrastructure and Business Council of Alabama to raise the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon, according to his Communication Director Chip Hill.

While Maddox may be pushing the gas tax as a means to finance infrastructure, getting it past the Legislature may prove to be a difficult task.

Since the statewide gas tax was raised in the 1990s, lawmakers have pushed gas tax bills in several Legislative Sessions. The most recent push in 2018 ended in a vote to reject the measure.

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Citing the election year, leadership in the Legislature soundly rejected the notion that the gas tax would increase, but some were optimistic about a federal plan that would have allocated $1.5 trillion in funding to infrastructure.

Trump’s White House released a new plan in February that allocates $1.5 trillion in infrastructure funding and gives states more autonomy on deciding how to spend the money. The new bill has not managed to get past Congress.

Maddox, on his website, said that he would work between Legislative Sessions to hammer out a detailed plan.

“We must also present our infrastructure plan identifying specific projects in advance of all legislative sessions in which appropriations will be made so the citizens know where and how their money is being spent,” the website read.

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