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Legislators consider gas tax increase to maintain county roads

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Updated: 3/22/2013 11:45 am
If you live in Clark County you could soon be shelling out more at the pump. News 3's Capitol Correspondent Mackenzie Warren has the details on a bill that would allow the county to inflate the price of gas.

CARSON CITY (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Managers at the Regional Transportation Commission say they've reached a fork in the road and can't afford to fix Clark County roads without asking motorist to pay higher gas taxes. The RTC wants to shake another three cents a gallon from Clark County drivers.

Before drivers say give me a break, some southern Nevada lawmakers believe boosting what drivers pay at the gas pump by a few cents will give them a smoother commute. They want to use the money to improve roads in Clark County.

It can be a bumpy ride on any given road in Clark County but filling the tank also gets rough.

What about to the constituents in Clark County who say ‘hey look-I’m getting hammered at the pump already.'

“Thats the oil companies not the government,” said Clark County Commissioner Tom Collings. “Fuel taxes ain’t changed here--they haven't changed in Nevada."

But the RTC wants lawmakers to expand fuel taxes in Clark County by around 3-cents per gallon. Money they'd use to improve roads in southern Nevada.

“So people can drive up and down the roads safely,” Collins said.

Clark county commissioner Tom Collins wants legislators to back the fuel tax because as drivers pump less and pick more fuel-efficient cars, the RTC gets fewer and fewer dollars from the fuel tax. They're down 83 percent during the past 10 years.

Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick questions if constituents already struggling at the pump can pay more.

"I need to be clear--to understand what that means.” Kirkpatrick said. “The economy went real bad real fast.”

According to the RTC's estimate, the tax would tack on $16.35 more each year for every car..

The average Clark County household has two cars so that's $32.70 more per family.

Collins calls the fuel tax common sense.

“You know when your kid get hungry you feed them?” Collins said. “When your roads get bumpy you smooth them out.”

If lawmakers approve the gas tax--Clark County drivers could see prices go up at the pump in as few as 90 days but the formula is complicated: and there are critics. After all, we all fuel up and every cent adds up.

Like any county ordinance--commissioners could repeal the tax that's if it passes in Carson City.



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