New Hampshire’s Speaker of the House is optimistic House lawmakers will pass a Senate proposal to increase the state’s gas tax by 4.2 cents.
The House Ways and Means and Public Works and Highways committee held a joint hearing today on the bill.
Senate lawmakers voted 15-9 last month to pass the increase, which is expected to raise about $30 million annually for repairs to roads and bridges.
The Democratically-controlled House has historically backed larger increases, so clearing the Republican-led Senate was considered the bill’s major hurdle.
Speaker Terrie Norelli says her colleagues in the House should see this as their best chance to raise revenue for infrastructure.
“My sense is that the Senate has moved to a compromise by coming to this place and we want to recognize their hard work. We want to recognize their compromise and work together with them on this.”
In addition to the gas tax hike, the bill also seeks to remove the toll ramps at Exit 12 in Merrimack.
Norelli says additional traffic at another Merrimack from the outlet malls means closing the tolls won’t affect revenue and shouldn’t keep House lawmakers from supporting from the measure.