MAG has a continued presence at the Utah Legislative session each year. In addition to seeking additional funding for our programs, we advocate for other bills that benefit the citizens of our region.
The 2017 Utah Legislative Session was from January 23 – March 9. For additional information, visit Utah State Legislature.
SB 276: Gas Tax Modification
SB 276 modifies HB 362, a gas tax reform bill that was approved in 2015. HB 362 allowed the per gallon tax to rise and fall with the price of fuel, instead of a excise tax which is a flat rate per gallon, regardless of the price. These new taxes provide an annual adjustment as the statewide average wholesale price of fuel fluctuates within floor and ceiling prices. To mirror the inflationary changes in the prices of gas, SB 276 modified the floor price to $1.78 and the ceiling to $2.43. The rate of the new modified sales tax is 16.5% of the statewide average wholesale pretax price of a gallon of regular unleaded motor fuel during the previous three fiscal years. Beginning in 2019, this change will generate $4.5 million more per year, which is about $3.60 per year for the average car (based on 20 miles per gallon at 12,000 miles per year). 65% of the increase will fund local and state roads; the remaining 35% will be transferred to the State's general fund which can be used for education or other state priorities.
SB 277: Highway Bond Bill
SB 277 authorizes up to $1 billion bond to fund high-priority state highway construction or reconstruction projects. Bonding now accelerates the construction of planned projects over the next four years to reduce congestion along Utah’s major highways. The acceleration takes advantage of interest rates that are lower today than the price of transportation construction inflation in the future. The bond also includes a loan for a pedestrian bridge connecting the Orem Front Runner station and Utah Valley University. The Utah Transportation Commission will choose which projects will be built from this bond from a list of projects in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund.
As always, your comments on legislation are always welcome and appreciated.