Kirby plan would let voters decide on tax increases, new fees for roads, bridges

Republican state Sen. Dean Kirby plans to introduce a bill next year that would raise taxes and fees to pay for needed renovations to state roads and bridges, but with several new twists compared to other such proposals that quickly have been snuffed out in the current anti-tax Legislature.

For starters, voters would say “yes” or “no” to the plan in a statewide referendum and would be able to view a list of the projects the money would fund in each of the state’s three transportation districts. Kirby said a similar successful referendum in Georgia gave him the idea to let voters see exactly what taxes and fees would fund…

…Also, the plan looks to the future, with hybrid and electric cars promising even more diminishing returns on the fuel taxes that currently fund transportation infrastructure. Kirby’s plan, now in draft phase, would put a $150 annual fee on electric cars and a $75 annual fee on hybrid cars….

…Finally, Kirby said, his plan would raise the state’s 18.4 cents a gallon fuel tax — which hasn’t been increased in more than 30 years — by 8 percent, or about 1.5 cents a gallon.

Clarion Ledger