Bill seeks higher Kentucky gas tax, new fees for most vehicles

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky legislators filed a bill Monday to raise the state’s gas tax, add extra fees to electric and gasoline-fueled vehicles and change the formula that sends road funds to cities and counties.

The bill proposes a nearly 9 cent-per gallon increase for most drivers, among a raft of other measures meant to create more revenue for the state’s largely stagnant road fund. If approved, Kentucky’s gas tax would be 34.6 cents per gallon, up from the current rate of 26 cents.

Alan Flock, of Bullitt County, said he already tries to save money on gas whenever possible. He was cashing in on rewards points at Speedway on Tuesday to get a 50 cent per gallon discount.

“Kentucky loves to tax as much as they can whenever they can,” Flock said.

But motorist Jacob Hill said he wouldn’t mind paying a little more in gas to avoid hitting rough spots on his drive from Bardstown.

“(The tax) will impact a certain number of people, but I think the overall goal within it means a lot as well,” Hill said. “Fixing the roads is something that’s pretty necessary.”

House Bill 580, sponsored by Republican Rep. Sal Santoro and Democratic Reps. John Sims Jr. and Russ Meyer, was submitted Monday, the final day for new bills in the House of Representatives. Similar attempts failed to advance during the previous two legislative sessions.

The bill’s introduction has been complicated by a dispute between Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, and the GOP-controlled Senate, which passed a measure this month that would limit the governor’s ability to choose a Transportation Secretary.

Speaking in Frankfort Tuesday morning, Beshear once again criticized that measure, Senate Bill 4, even as he acknowledged that more dollars are needed for Kentucky’s roads.

“We have a challenge in our Transportation Cabinet budget needing more funds just for maintenance,” he said. “The environment to get it passed this session is difficult.”

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