SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – With road work money getting harder and harder to come by, state lawmakers are looking at raising New Mexico’s gas tax saying it’s one of the lowest in the country and hasn’t been raised in a long time. The gas tax goes towards road projects, something state lawmakers said we desperately need money for.
“When you go to the gas pump, you actually pay about 37 cents in tax and so about 18, a little over 18 cents, is state tax that stays in New Mexico and goes into the state road fund,” said the Department of Transportation Secretary, Michael Sandoval. “And the other 18 cents is federal gas tax and that goes to the federal Highway Trust Fund.”
In Senate Bill 168, it would increase those state’s gas tax and special fuel excise tax by a penny a year for five years. The bill’s sponsor said that this money could help put a dent in the nearly $3-billion in backlog for road projects.
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“We’re the 4th lowest in the country, only three states have a lower gas tax,” said Sen. Bill Tallman (D- Albuquerque). “There hasn’t been a gas tax increase in over 20, 28 years.”
Analysts note the incremental gas tax increase could bring in at least $150-million extra for road work over the next five years. Currently, the bill has passed one committee but it’s waiting to be heard in Senate Finance. The average state gas tax in the US is almost 37 cents a gallon, which is double New Mexico’s.