Lawmakers in Nashville and Washington, including Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker, have been talking about raising the gas taxes on both the state and federal levels.
A double whammy might not sit well with drivers, but Commissioner John Schroer, the state’s top transportation official, says the need for more money cannot be ignored.
He says the approximately $650 million that Tennessee brings in annually soon will be enough only to keep the state’s roads patched up — without any new construction projects. With that in mind, Tennessee leaders shouldn’t let talk in Congress of raising the federal gas tax keep them from considering a state hike as well.
“I think the state of Tennessee has to look after their own roads,” Schroer said Tuesday. “We know we’re going to get some money from the federal government, but it’s our job to make our roads safe.”
Tennesseans currently pay just under 40 cents a gallon, among the lowest rates in the country, and neither the state nor the federal tax has risen in more than two decades.
Republicans, including the governor, have shied away from raising taxes. But the timing may be as good as it’s ever going to get.
Analysts predict gas prices will continue to fall in 2015, to their lowest levels in six years.