A bill to increase the state's gasoline tax, SB 367, was signed into law in 2014.
The tax (officially known as the road toll) had stood at 18 cents per gallon since 1991. The tax was increased to 22.2 cents per gallon, effective July 2014.
The increase is projected to generate $32 million in annual revenue. Here's a breakdown on where the revenue will be spent:
- 42% for bonding for the I-93 widening project
- 33% to municipalities for local road and bridge repair
- 25% to repair secondary state roads in 2015-16
The primary sponsor of SB 367 was Sen. Jim Rausch (R-Derry). The measure passed the House (193-141) and Senate (15-9) before it was signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan. The law also removes the Everett Turnpike's toll at Exit 12 in Merrimack and creates a commission to study the efficiency of the Department of Transportation. The 4-cent increase is to be repealed in 20 years, or when the I-93 project bonding is paid off.
NH ranks 32nd in the nation for motor fuel taxes, according to the American Petroleum Institute.
The call for a road toll increase was brought on by a nearly $50 million funding shortfall in the Department of Transportation. DOT Commissioner Christopher Clement warned of hundreds of layoffs, the closure of highway sheds and the elimination of 6 of 13 bridge maintenance crews unless revenue increased.
Opponents of a gas tax increase argue that the increase would unfairly burden low-income residents.
"I continue to oppose any increase in the gas tax; I believe it hurts the families of New Hampshire who can least afford it, and it burdens our businesses trying to make ends meet in a fragile economy," Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) said in a statement (Dec 2013).
Opponents of a gas tax increase also argue that the state could reallocate existing revenue to pay for infrastructure repairs.