City councilor proposes gas tax to improve city roads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque city councilor is once again pushing a plan to improve the city’s roads, but that plan would mean paying more for gas.

Councilor Isaac Benton wants to raise the gas tax by two cents a gallon, but if council passes the plan, voters would have the final say and it would be put on the October ballot.

“I do feel the roads are bad, I just don’t feel they’ve ever been fixed if anything,” said Jose Vasquez, a resident.

Councilor Benton said he has a way to fix that, and that means drivers in Albuquerque would have to pay more at the gas pump.

“To impose gas tax, two cents per gallon. A Municipal Gas Tax, that would go to the city for roads rehabilitation,” he said.

The money would go towards improving roads for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Councilor Dan Lewis doesn’t like the plan.

“It’s a regressive tax that harms the people that are going to pay for it. I disagree with that kind of tax. It puts a heavy burden on the job creators, a compliance burden on the job creators in the city,” he said.

Councilor Lewis isn’t against the tax, but he would rather see the extra revenue go towards hiring more police officers. However, Councilor Benton said people’s safety also includes better road conditions.

“Police are important. Police don’t maintain our roadways. Our roadways are generally old and unsafe, for pedestrians, drivers, everybody concerned,” said Councilor Benton.

So far, residents within Albuquerque said they don’t mind paying extra if that meant benefiting the roads they drive on everyday.

“If his proposal is to really get the roads fixed, we’re all for it. If not, I mean, just make sure the money goes where it needs to go,” said Vasquez.

“If you drive in Albuquerque, you know the streets are not the very best that they are in the world, so it is a good thing and I would gladly pay the two cent increase,” said Larry, a resident.

Councilor Benton first proposed the gas tax in January, but wanted to see if the state lawmakers were going to do the same thing. They ended up not going for it, so he’s bringing it back up again.

If the finance committee approves the proposal, it will go to full council for a vote.

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