The 193-141 vote means the state’s gas tax will rise 4.2 cents, the first increase to the state’s current 18-cent per gallon levy on gasoline and diesel since 1991.
The battle over NH’s gas tax has been pitched in recent years. When Governor John Lynch was in the corner office, he promised to veto any increase to the gas tax.
Last year the democratically- controlled N.H. House passed a 12-cent tax hike that was rejected by the GOP led State Senate.
This year, a bipartisan coalition got the 4.2 cents increase through the Senate, but only after the bill was stripped of a provision that tied future increases to the CPI. When it hit the house floor, its lead house sponsor, Nashua Representative, David Campbell (d), urged colleagues to be pragmatic.
"This bill is about the possible. It is about what we can pass today and get some revenue into our highway fund that’s the goal before us today."
The money raised the 4.2 cent increase will fund highway improvements for two years.
After that roughly half the new revenue would be used to pay off $200 million in bonding used to finish the expansion of 1-93.
The bill also eliminates the toll on exit 12 of the Everett turnpike in Merrimack.
In a statement Governor Maggie Hassan called the legislation "important" and said she looked forward to signing it.