Bill would let New Mexico voters decide on gas tax for roadwork

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the state hurting for money, New Mexico roads are hurting for repairs. Now a state lawmaker is pitching a gas tax with a twist, to help pay for roadwork.

The bill introduces a gas tax that cities and counties can use for roadwork, but voters in that city or county would have to sign off on it first.

It’s no secret, many streets throughout the city of Albuquerque need work.

“A lot of potholes. And sidewalks are just deteriorating,” said Silvio Taddy, Albquerque resident.

“Especially in residential areas, there’s a lot of big cracks,” said Orlando Montoya Jr., Albuquerque resident.

With the state strapped for cash, one lawmaker is hoping to give cities and counties another way to raise money for roadwork.

“It’s very broad, it even includes alleyways,” said Rep. Randal S. Crowder, (R) – New Mexico.

House Bill 63, sponsored by Clovis Republican Rep. Randal S. Crowder, is a gas tax which local governments can turn to.

“Up to five cents per gallon, they may implement it in one cent increments,” Rep. Crowder said.

Drivers KRQE News 13 spoke with said if it means better roads, they are all for it.

“But you have to give a little to get something,” said Montoya Jr.

“Some of the roads, mainly in the South Valley, are bad,” said Taddy.

Albuquerque city councilors said maintaining the roads within the city are a priority.

“The most important piece of infrastructure in our communities are the roadways,” said Ken Sanchez, Albuquerque City Council, District 1.

But there is another major step to this proposal — the people get to decide if they want the tax. City councils and county commissions cannot implement this tax without putting it on a local ballot.

“Only be implemented by the qualified electorate in that municipality or county area,” Rep. Crowder said.

People KRQE News 13 spoke with agree that a vote is always a good thing.

“It has to be everybody’s say-so, not just one person,” said Taddy.

Drivers also couldn’t be hit twice by this tax. In other words, if Bernalillo County passed a gas tax it would not affect Albuquerque, the city would have to pass its own.

Right now, New Mexicans pay $.17 / gallon in state and federal taxes, which is one of the lowest totals in the country.

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