House Committee Considers Gas Tax Increase

Feb 19, 2013

Commissioner Christopher Clement of NH DOT testifies before the House committee.
Credit Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

The House Committee on Public Works and Highways held a hearing on a bill that would increase the state's gas tax and vehicle registration fees.

The bill would raise 800 million dollars over eight years in new revenue by increasing the state's gas tax by 12 cents over three years and tacking on five dollars to vehicle registration fees.

Representative David Campbell, the bill's primary sponsor, urged lawmakers to pass the legislation, arguing that New Hampshire's transportation infrastructure is in a state of crisis:

"We are not approaching the infrastructure cliff; we are already over it. It's a question of whether we get back on firm ground or we free fall into an abyss of terrible roads, highways, and an expensive bill no one can afford to pay."

The bill's revenue would go towards completing the widening of I-93, repairing red-listed bridges around the state, and establishing a protected fund that would only be used to maintain the state's roads and bridges.

Critics, many from the trucking industry, strongly opposed the bill, arguing that the state is unfairly passing costs on to small businesses.

Lawmakers are also considering using proceeds from casino licensing to help maintain the state's infrastructure.