Possible Gas Tax Doesn't Pump Up Delaware Drivers - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Possible Gas Tax Doesn't Pump Up Delaware Drivers

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DELAWARE - Filling up your tank could soon cost a little more in Delaware, if a proposed gas tax hike makes its way to the pump. 

The 10-cent increase is part of Governor Jack Markell's plan to inject $500 million over five years into the state's Transportation Trust Fund.
In a video released Friday, by Gov. Markell's office, DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt outlined projects that would be kick started with the funds, "we'd finally widen route 1 by Christiana Mall to reduce traffic; we'd make it easier and safer to get to the beach by working on Route 1 intersections in Kent County; and we'd replace pipes under roads in Sussex County to prevent pavement from collapsing.  And there are dozens more projects like those."

The proposed tax raises an estimated $50 million each year.  This would be paired with increased borrowing to create $100 million a year in funding for the Transportation Trust Fund.   While many agree the projects are necessary, they say the time, just might not be right.

"Times are tight, and it seems like every time times are tight, things get higher," says Ida Jiles of Seaford.

The increase would bring Delaware's gas tax to 23 cents per gallon, which is still lower than the gas tax in neighboring Pennsylvania, at 40 cents and Maryland, which will be close to 43 cents by 2016.

Despite how they may feel about a tax increase, many say there wouldn't be much they can do about paying more at the pump because driving is an essential part of daily life.

Jiles says, "they know the money's going to be there...because people are going to buy the gas."

The general assembly's Joint Finance Committee just finished its first of six weeks of budget hearings, trying to balance the state's $3.8 billion budget for 2015.

Republican lawmakers say there's enough time before a balanced budget is due, and it's possible for budget gaps to be fixed without increasing taxes or borrowing.

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