Report: Voters willing to re-elect legislators who support gas tax bills

By |  September 6, 2016

tiac-logoAn American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) analysis of eight states that passed legislation to increase motor fuel taxes in 2015 shows that 98 percent of Republican and Democratic lawmakers who supported their respective gas tax bills won their primary races in 2016.

According to the study, conducted by ARTBA’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (TIAC), the eight states analyzed were Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Washington. Each state approved a gas tax increase or its equivalent in 2015, and six of these states had a Republican governor and Republican majority legislature at the time the legislature was passed.

According to TIAC, most state lawmakers who voted on a motor fuel tax measure last year face re-election for the first time this year. In the eight states, 231 Democratic state legislators voted in favor of increasing state motor fuel taxes (66 percent of all Democrats in office at the time of the vote). In the 2016 primaries, 125 of these Democrats were up for re-election, with 122 winning their primary race, TIAC adds. Three Democrats who supported a gas tax increase and were up for re-election lost their seat in the primaries. In addition, 113 Democratic lawmakers voted against a gas tax increase in 2015, with 39 of those legislators up for re-election in 2016. One legislator lost a seat in the primaries.

“These results should dispel any notion that voting to increase the state gas tax is politically toxic,” says Alison Premo Black, chief economist for ARTBA, who conducted the research. “Voters expect lawmakers to put forward solutions to help reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety and help grow the economy. They are also willing to pay for these expanded investments.”

TIAC, established in 2014, is an education program and internet-based information resource designed to help private citizens, legislators, organizations and businesses grow transportation investment at the state and local levels through the legislative and ballot initiative processes.

Allison Barwacz

About the Author:

Allison Barwacz is the digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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