Governor Ivey Says Bi-Partisanship Was Key to New Gas Tax

Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at Bryant Denny in March 2019. (Source: Robert Carter)

Gov. Kay Ivey, speaking Thursday morning in Homewood, pointed to bi-partisanship and teamwork as the key to the successful passage of the Rebuild Alabama Act. The new law enacts increases in fuel taxes to provide funding for transportation infrastructure improvements statewide.

“We’ve seen the absolute tremendous team effort over the successful passage of my Rebuild Alabama Act and I just tell you, it took a truly strong team effort throughout this state to get that done,” Ivey told the Rotary Club of Homewood.

Calling the legislators to a special session March 6, Ivey charged them with addressing funding to meet infrastructure needs of the state, counties, municipal and Port Authority transportation system. The resulting bill raises gas taxes by 10 cents over the next three years and directs oversight measures that must be in place to ensure transparency and compliance on spending.

The bill moved through the Legislature quickly and with overwhelming support. The House of Representatives approved it 83 votes to 20 on March 8, and the Senate followed suit on March 12, passing it 28 votes to 6. Ivey signed it into law the same day — one day short of a week after the special session was convened.

“Stagnation is no longer the case in Alabama,” Ivey told Rotarians. “We are definitely moving forward and with the support of your community and many others like yours across the state, I finally decided enough is enough. We simply had to do it. It’s time to rebuild and we are on the way.”

The tax increase is incremental, beginning with a 6-cent increase on Sept. 1. A year later, on Oct. 1, 2020, the tax will increase to 8 cents. The following year, the tax will increase to reach the full 10-cent increase. The tax rate will be adjusted annually after October 2023 based on Federal Highway Administration cost indexes for highway construction costs, but it cannot be increased or decreased by more than one cent at a time.

The bill’s passage will bring an additional $6.5 million for infrastructure improvements in Jefferson County. Shelby County will see $2.41 million, St. Clair County, $1.31 million, and Walker County, $1.13 million for transportation infrastructure improvements.

For a breakdown of how much individual municipalities in the Greater Birmingham area will receive, visit this link.

The governor also talked about strengthening education in Alabama by giving teachers a raise. She included a 4% pay raise for teachers in the budget draft she sent to the Legislature. The Senate today passed an education budget that kept that 4% increase. The budget will go next to the House.