Concerned about the lack of support for a legislative package to let the public decide on whether to temporarily increase fuel prices to pay for transportation projects, Senator Robert Milacek has announced his decision to withdraw the legislation.
The reality is this is an election year. Even though my legislation would have let the voters decide whether to temporarily increase fuel taxes, there were many lawmakers who were concerned that their support could hurt them at the polls, said Milacek.
If approved by the legislature, SJR 30 would have let voters decide on gradually increasing the states gasoline tax from 16 to 21 cents per gallon, and increasing the diesel fuel tax from 13 to 20 cents per gallon. The tax would then revert to the original levels in 2029.
This would have given us an additional $139 million for transportation and infrastructure development throughout the state, but when you consider the federal matching dollars that would have been available it would have been significantly more. Our transportation system, including our highways, railways, aeronautics, public transportation and waterways are critical to our future economic development and population growth. These funds would have addressed those needs, said Milacek, R-Enid.
Despite withdrawing this legislation, I believe it is important enough to our states future to warrant further examination. I plan on asking Senate President Pro Tempore Stratton Taylor for an interim study on this proposal. Hopefully, once the election cycle is behind us and we can clearly present the benefits this will bring to Oklahomas economy, well be in a much better position to get this proposal to the public, said Milacek.