How they voted: Alabama House approves gas tax increase; bill goes to Senate

How they voted: Alabama House approves gas tax increase; bill goes to Senate

By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Drivers in Alabama would see a 10-cent per gallon increase in the state gas tax to fund road and bridge construction, under legislation approved Friday by the state House of Representatives.

House members passed the bill 83-20, handing a victory to Gov. Kay Ivey who called lawmakers into special session to consider the tax increase. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

“What a victory the House has delivered today for the people of Alabama,” Ivey said after the House approval. Ivey said the boost in infrastructure funding is “desperately” needed to keep roads and bridges safe and alleviate traffic congestion.

Ivey is proposing a 10-cent a gallon gas tax increase that would be phased in over three years. The state tax would then be adjusted up or down with the National Highway Construction Cost Index and could increase up to a penny every two years.

The proposal also would place an annual $200 fee on electric vehicles and a $100 annual fee on hybrid vehicles.

Rep. Bill Poole, who is sponsoring the legislation, said Alabama’s current gas tax has been unchanged since 1992.

“Our citizens know we have to do something to address our infrastructure,” said Poole, a Tuscaloosa Republican.

Although supporters had been optimistic that the bill would win approval, the proposal pitted the Republican governor against some members of her own party. The executive committee of the Alabama Republican Party approved a resolution opposing the tax increase.

Some lawmakers said their constituents opposed the increase and others said there were alternative ways of obtaining money, such as a state lottery.

“I intend to be the voice of the people for House District 3. They are overwhelmingly opposed,” said Rep. Andrew Sorrell, a Republican from Muscle Shoals.

Rep. Kerry Rich, a Republican from Guntersville, said he was voting yes because he said the state “desperately” needs improved infrastructure.

“I want to use my time here to make a difference in the lives of the people for good,” Rich said.

The bill passed with bipartisan report. Eighteen of the 20 no votes were from Republicans.

There were multiple unsuccessful attempts to amend the bill during the five hours of debate. Rep. John Rogers, a Birmingham Democrat, proposed allowing the funding to be used for mass transit instead of only road and bridge construction. Another amendment would have stripped the ability to adjust the tax upward in future years without another vote of the Alabama Legislature. Both ideas were tabled.

The tax increase would be phased over three years beginning on Aug. 31 of this year. The tax would rise by 6 cents in 2019 and an additional 2 cents in 2020 and 2021. The bill also sets aside $11.7 million of the revenue to be used for a bond issue for improvements at the Port of Mobile.

During negotiations on the bill, House Democrats met with Ivey on issues they want to see addressed, including Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Ivey said she made a commitment to the minority caucus that “after we get the infrastructure bill tended to and set aside” that she would convene regular meetings with them and GOP leadership.

Asked if she was open to Medicaid expansion, Ivey replied that, “I’m open to good ideas to move our state forward.”

The Alabama Senate is expected to debate the bill next week.

Rep. Connie Rowe, R- Jasper, voted for the bill and said the improvements to the port of Mobile would significantly help her district.

“I’m from a deep coal region, so the port exports a lot of the coal coming from my district,” Rowe said.

“People in my district are concerned about coal and the work that they do with it and those who use it in their homes, so the dredging and widening of the port is very important issue that deals with my constituents.”

The bill dedicates about $11.7 million a year in gas tax revenue to improvements and expansions at the Port of Mobile. The state money would be used to match even more federal dollars being used to widen and deepen the shipping channel to expand port capacity.

“I don’t think the bill is perfect, but I do think it is a well thought out and as good of a negotiated option that we have before us at this time,” Rowe said. “I would rather be a part of something good and considerable than not.”

 

How they voted

Speaker Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville: Yes

Rep. Louise Alexander, D-Bessemer: Yes

Rep. Wes Allen, R- Troy: Yes

Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton: Yes

Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison: Yes

Rep Chris Blackshear, R-Phenix City: Yes

Rep. Barbara Boyd, D-Birmingham: Yes

Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Mobile: Yes

Rep. K.L. Brown, R-Jacksonville

Rep. Chip Brown, R-Hollingers Island: Yes

Rep. Jim Carns, R-Birmingham: No

Rep. Prince Chestnut, D-Selma: Yes

Rep. Adline Clarke, D-Mobile: Yes

Rep. Steve Clouse: R-Ozark: Yes

Rep. Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham: Yes

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur: Yes

Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens: Yes

Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville: Yes

Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville: No

Rep. Dickie Drake, R-Leeds: Yes

Rep. Barbara Drummond: D-Mobile: Yes

Rep. Brett Easterbrook, R-Fruitdale: Yes

Rep. Corley Ellis, R-Columbiana: Yes

Rep: Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa: Yes

Rep. Tracey Estes, R-Winfield: Yes

Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla: No

Rep. David Faulkner, R-Vestavia: Yes

Rep. Joe Foust, R-Fairhope: Yes

Rep. Bob Fincher, R-Woodland: No

Rep. Barry Forte, D-Eufaula: Yes

Rep. Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo: No

Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville: Yes

Rep. Victor Gaston, R-Mobile: Yes

Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham: Yes

Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika: Yes

Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville: Yes

Rep. Dexter Grimsley, D-Newville: Yes

Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville: Yes

Rep. Tommy Hanes, R-Scottsboro: No

Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Cullman: No

Rep. Kirk Hatcher, D-Montgomery: Yes

Rep. Jim Hill, R-Moody: Yes

Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham: Yes

Rep. Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka: No

Rep. Ralph Howard, D-Greensboro: Yes

Rep. Steve Hurst, R-Munford: Yes

Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery: Yes

Rep. Gil Isbell, R- Gadsden: Yes

Rep. Thomas Jackson, R-Thomasville

Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga: No

Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia: Yes

Rep. Sam Jones, R-Mobile: Yes

Rep. Jamie Kiel, R- Russellville: No

Rep. Wes Kitchens, R-Arab: Yes

Rep. Kelvin Lawrence, D-Hayneville: Yes

Rep. Nathan Ledbetter, R-Rainsville: Yes

Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan: Yes

Rep. Craig Lipscomb, R-Gasden: Yes

Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn: Yes

Rep. Rhett Marques, R-Enterprise: Yes

Rep. Jimmy Martin, R-Clanton: Yes

Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Livingston: Yes

Rep. Thad McClammy, D-Montgomery: Yes

Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Bay Minette: Yes

Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham: No

Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmigham: No

Rep. Parker Moore, R- Decatur: Not voting, not present

Rep. Tashina Morris, D-Montgomery: Yes

Rep. Becky Nordgren, R- Gadsden: Yes

Rep. Ed Oliver, R-Dadeville: Yes

Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Green Hill: Yes

Rep. Dimitri Polizoz, R-Montgomery: Yes

Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa: Yes

Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile: Yes

Rep. Neil Rafferty, D-Birmingham: Yes

Rep. Rex Reynolds, R-Huntsville: Yes

Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Albertville: Yes

Rep. Proncey Robertson, R-Mount Hope: Yes

Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham: No

Rep. Connie Rowe, R-Jasper: Yes

Rep. Howard Sanderford, R-Huntsville: Yes

Rep. Rod Scott, D-Fairfield: Yes

Rep. Chris Sells, R-Greenville: Yes

Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg: Yes

Rep. Randall Shedd, R- Cullman: Yes

Rep. Harry Shiver, R-Stockton: Yes

Rep. Matt Simpson, R-Daphne: Yes

Rep. Andrew Sorrell, R- Muscle Shoals: No

Rep. Jeff Sorrells, R-Hartford: Yes

Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette: Yes

Rep. Scott Stadthagen, R- Hartselle: No

Rep. David Standridge, R-Hayden: No

Rep. Shane Stringer, R-Mobile: Yes

Rep. Rodney Sullivan, R-Tuscaloosa: Yes

Rep. Allen Treadaway, R-Morris: No

Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley:Yes

Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee

Rep. April Weaver, R- Alabaster: No

Rep. David Wheeler, R- Vestavia Hills:No

Rep. Andy Whitt, R-Harvest: Yes

Rep. Ritchie Whorton, R-Scottsboro: No

Rep. Margie Wilcox, R-Mobile: Yes

Rep. Rich Wingo, R-Tuscaloosa: Yes

Rep. Debbie Wood, R-Valley: Yes

Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston: Yes

 

Alabama Daily News staff contributed to this report