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House passes 3-cent per-gallon gas tax hike in North Dakota

February 23, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota House has passed a bill that adds another 3 cents per gallon to the state’s gas tax to help pay for improvements to roads and bridges.

The tax hasn’t been raised in North Dakota since 2005. If the Senate approves, adding 3 cents to the current 23-cent a-gallon gas tax would still keep it below surrounding states. The closest is South Dakota at 28 cents per gallon.

“We do have deficient bridges, and we don’t want to get in a situation where some of those bridges are unsafe for the traveling public,” said bill sponsor Republican Rep. Vicky Steiner.

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The gas hike has its detractors.

“I would have been willing to look at reforming the tax and coming up with a system that better accounts for inflation for the cost of our roads, but that choice was not taken up,” said Republican Rep. Ben Koppelman.

The proposal also raises the annual fee on electric vehicles from $120 to $200, on hybrid vehicles from $50 to $100 and on electric motorcycles from $20 to $50.

The measure cleared the House Monday on a vote of 62-32.

The bill would generate about $44 million in additional revenue over a two-year budget cycle, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Most of the revenue would go to the state highway fund, with counties, cities and townships receiving a smaller share.