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Author Topic: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances  (Read 6819 times)

Grzrd

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A five-cent diesel tax increase that would finance a bond issue for $1.1 billion in funds over the next ten years is proceeding to the full Arkansas legislature and possibly Arkansas voters next year.  The funds would be devoted exclusively to maintenance of the current Arkansas interstate system.  Representatives from both AHTD and the trucking industry testifed in support of the measure.  Although a percentage of the increase would result in increased cost of goods for Arkansas consumers, at least the politicians and the trucking industry have admitted the problem and have helped to advance a measure to address it that would have the heaviest hit on the trucking industry:

http://www.swtimes.com/news/article_b934b500-4bf7-11e0-882e-001cc4c002e0.html
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Truvelo

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 05:19:17 PM »

22.5 cents per gallon tax - if we say diesel is currently $3.50 a gallon that's around 7% tax. Even with the extra 5 cent increase it would still be well below European levels which are as high as 75%.
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rte66man

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 05:54:25 PM »

Just got back from a quick trip to Nashville from OKC. I would have to say this is needed very badly. I-40 is falling apart in stretches between West Memphis and Forrest City, Brinkley and Hazen (across the White River), near Russellville, and again near Ozark.  Haven't been on I55 or I30, but would guess them to have the same percentage of needed resurfacing and new bridge decks.

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Sykotyk

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2011, 07:36:52 PM »

Arkansas (and most of the non-Georgia deep-south) has problems with their roads disintegrating. Plus, on par with other states, their fuel tax is actually below the national average. 24cpg is the average, and that's buoyed by California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, etc having taxes up in the 35-40cpg range. Meanwhile Wyoming, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Indiana have some of the cheapest in the country in the 14-17cpg range.

If they can repave I-40 and maybe add a lane or two (or, better yet, upgrade US67 to freeway/expressway at the Missouri line, finish the Bella Vista bypass and finish I-49 to Texarkana, it'd be well worth it, I-44 is reaching max capacity for a non-urban roadway, it's just a bother to drive it)
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Grzrd

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 08:40:10 PM »

Arkansas (and most of the non-Georgia deep-south) has problems with their roads disintegrating. Plus, on par with other states, their fuel tax is actually below the national average. 24cpg is the average
Discussions are ongoing in other southern states, too.  Here is a link to a recent Q & A with the Executive Director of the Alabama Road Builder's Association, in which he notes strong resistance to the idea of a 5cpg increase to the current Alabama 18cpg fuel tax:

http://blog.al.com/businessnews/2011/03/on_the_record_billy_norrell_ex.html

Although he obviously has a vested interest in such an increase, I believe he is correct in asserting that a fuel tax increase is among the fairest ways to pay for road maintenance.

If they can repave I-40 and maybe add a lane or two (or, better yet, upgrade US67 to freeway/expressway at the Missouri line, finish the Bella Vista bypass and finish I-49 to Texarkana, it'd be well worth it, I-44 is reaching max capacity for a non-urban roadway, it's just a bother to drive it)
The feature I like about this bill in its current form is that is ONLY for maintenance of current interstates, and not for construction of new ones.  That said, the sponsor of the bill has cryptically implied that there will be a "phase two" bill that will help to finance I-49, and perhaps other interstate construction:

"In a voice vote that was not unanimous, the panel endorsed HB 1902 by Robert S. Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City, which proposes a 5-cent diesel tax increase to finance a bond issue for maintenance and improvements to the interstate highway system in the state... "(HB 1902) is particularly critical because it deals with the issue of the maintenance and improvements that are so vitally necessary to the state highway miles that we currently have in our system." ...

Rep. Denny Altes, R-Fort Smith, said he had never voted for a tax increase in his 12 years in the Legislature, "but I think that the voters deserve the opportunity to pass this tax."

Altes jokingly asked if most of the money would go to the planned I-49 corridor in western Arkansas. Moore said his bill would fund improvements and maintenance of existing roads, not new roads, but he told Altes to "stay tuned" for the second phase of the plan."

http://www.swtimes.com/news/article_b934b500-4bf7-11e0-882e-001cc4c002e0.html
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 08:58:25 PM by Grzrd »
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rte66man

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 02:02:41 PM »

Having worked for the OK Legislature, I can almost promise that "maintenance" would be defined to allow for added capacity of existing interstates.  I-40 from Little Rock to West Memphis needs to be six lanes. The amount of truck traffic is phenomenal.

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Grzrd

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 11:03:57 AM »

I-40 from Little Rock to West Memphis needs to be six lanes. The amount of truck traffic is phenomenal.
If I interpret recently released Inrix National Traffic Scorecard correctly (I'm assuming red means the most congested with truck traffic), then your observation of the need for more lanes is strongly reinforced:

http://www.inrix.com/scorecard/freight.asp

Tennessee DOT currently has a link to this report on their home page: http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 12:32:25 PM by Grzrd »
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froggie

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 01:19:03 PM »

That's the overall level of truck traffic...doesn't necessarily reflect congestion.
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rte66man

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 04:29:49 PM »

That's the overall level of truck traffic...doesn't necessarily reflect congestion.

Speaking from personal experience, I would say that 65 - 75% of the traffic in both directions is trucks.  When a semi pulls out to pass and slows going up a hill, then everyone backs up. In the 120 miles between Little Rock and West Memphis, I bet I had this happen 8 to 10 times and I drove at 72 mph.  Even my non-roadie wife remarked on the large percentage of trucks. Trust me, the congestion is there.

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froggie

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 07:44:49 PM »

That's not congestion....that's just being stuck behind a truck, albeit several times.  If it were congestion, you'd be going a lot less than 60 MPH (typically under 45), let alone 72 MPH.

You're close, but AHTD sez truck percentage is somewhat less...with the highest being 64% (near Forrest City) and averaging mid-50s-% overall.
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lamsalfl

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 08:15:22 PM »

Color me ignorant, but why don't trucks put most of their freight on rail for long distance travel?  Wouldn't that keep the roads from being torn up and reduce the need for being widened?  
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agentsteel53

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2011, 08:32:23 PM »

if there's a truck ahead of you doing 72, consider yourself blessed.  most trucks I run into are in the low 60s.  except when they are passing another truck, at which point they are in the high 50s.
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Sykotyk

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2011, 12:57:03 AM »

Color me ignorant, but why don't trucks put most of their freight on rail for long distance travel?  Wouldn't that keep the roads from being torn up and reduce the need for being widened? 

Transferring to a specific destination is problematic. LA to Chicago, yeah. Bakersfield, CA to Tupelo, MS?... Not so much. Secondly, it's a time issue. Most customers that are ordering something want it NOW, not when the train, with all the switching, will get it reasonably close that another truck STILL must go and pick up the load and make the delivery. Price vs. Time, the Time wins out as the price isn't as notable. Now, if you are shipping 300 truckloads worth of goods a day from one place to another that don't require refrigeration and going generally from one many railyard to another, trains are definitely the cheapest and reliable.

The problem with Little Rock-Memphis is that until US67 is finished to the MO border (and I-69 gets finished sometime in the next century), freight traffic bottlenecks along that corridor. Partly to blame is the northeast-to-southeast corridor.

From the northeast to southwest, you have four general routes:

90 or 80-271-71-65-40-30-20-10
81-40-30-20-10
70-44-40-17-10 or 15-10 (avoids Arkansas)
81-40-75-24-59-12-10 (avoids Arkansas)

And that's just fort northeast. Throw in Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Indianapolis, etc, and you get a lot of potential traffic consolidating along I-40 through Arkansas heading to or from the southwest. I-69 is badly needed.

It needs six-laned. Not that traffic crawls to a stop, but that the 'back and forth' of traffic causes trouble. The double-speed limit (cars 70, trucks 65) causes issues, as well as the general setup that most trucking companies have their trucks governed at 60 or 62mph. That causes rolling road blocks when a group of them jockey for position given slight weight differences of the trucks taking hills and then passing back once on flatter stretches, etc.
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Chris

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2011, 01:49:45 PM »

Color me ignorant, but why don't trucks put most of their freight on rail for long distance travel?  Wouldn't that keep the roads from being torn up and reduce the need for being widened? 

The US has a fairly high share of rail freight. Higher than in Europe (in the Netherlands it's less than 2%, nearly all of it transiting to other countries).

However, we live in the just-in-time era. Companies, ranging from distribution to retail, do not keep large (expensive) stocks anymore but are supplied much more frequently. This can potentially make it vulnerable to hiccups in the system, but it is cost-efficient, which puts rail freight on a large disadvantage, especially for non-bulk goods.

Grzrd

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Re: AR Diesel Tax Increase For Current Interstate Maintenance Advances
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2011, 09:05:39 PM »

A five-cent diesel tax increase that would finance a bond issue for $1.1 billion in funds over the next ten years is proceeding to the full Arkansas legislature and possibly Arkansas voters next year.  The funds would be devoted exclusively to maintenance of the current Arkansas interstate system.
The legislature passed it and Gov. Beebe has signed it.  It will now be up to the Arkansas voters:

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MUSK682.htm

"Four Arkansas lawmakers who signed a no-tax-increase pledge now are defending their votes on tax-related legislation that passed the state Legislature this year ... According to Washington, D.C.-based Americans for Tax Reform, 16 Arkansas state representatives and three state senators signed the group's pledge "to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." ... Among those who signed are Reps. John Burris, R-Harrison; Lane Jean, R-Magnolia; Garry Smith, D-Camden; and Reginald Murdoch, D-Marianna. They all voted on March 11 for House Bill 1902, which would let Arkansas voters decide whether to raise the state's diesel-fuel tax by five cents per gallon ... Others who signed the no-tax-increase pledge opposed the legislation because they took the pledge. Eventually, the proposal was signed into law by Gov. Mike Beebe. The tax increase, if approved, could raise about $1.1 billion over 10 years."

The legislature also passed a bill that will allow Arkansas voters to decide the fate of a sales tax increase designed to fund four-lane highway construction in the state:

http://www.swtimes.com/columns/guest/article_a2ed83c0-7bcd-11e0-8645-001cc4c002e0.html

"... During the past session, legislators passed two ballot referrals that, if enacted by the voters, would repair and expand Arkansas' highway system. One would raise the diesel tax by five cents a gallon to finance highway repairs and improvements. The other would raise the state sales tax by half a percent for 10 years to build more four-lane highways across the state..."

Here's another article:

http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2011/Apr11/040411/040411-03.shtml

"Voters will get the final say on the tax increases, which would fund bond programs to help address repairs and construction of a statewide four-lane highway system."
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 09:24:38 PM by Grzrd »
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