GA gas tax hits budgets, wallets

Published: Jul. 1, 2015 at 9:26 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2015 at 9:29 PM EDT
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Michael McCoy, Assistant County Administrator
Michael McCoy, Assistant County Administrator

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - If you filled up at the pump today, you might have noticed higher prices. But the new gas tax increase will hit budgets for local governments and school systems even more.

It's now costing a lot more for Dougherty County employees to fill up at the pump. The Transportation Funding Act of 2015 goes into effect today, costing motorists about 6 or 7 cents more for a gallon of gas.

 But it means even more of an increase for governments and school systems.

"Local governments, or governments period, have not previously had to pay that, we've been exempt, but no more. And so we're seeing a steeper increase in costs as a result," said Michael McCoy, Assistant County Administrator.

 Dougherty County estimates they'll see an 18.5 cent increase per gallon. "We spend around $420,000 on fuel in general fund. And based on the 18.5 cent increase per gallon it comes out to about $35,000 increase in expected costs."

 Dougherty County school leaders believe the increase will cost them about 100-thousand dollars more each year.

"What my efforts are going to be is to offset those costs with some additional reductions in routing, trying to squeeze down some of our routes and be more efficient. And also take a harder look at our idling to make sure we're not idling as much as have in the past," said Kenneth Williams.
  The move is expected to generate about $900 million a year for projects to maintain the state's roads and bridges. And county leaders hope to see some return on their costly investment.

AAA says drivers shouldn't expect to see prices jump up overnight, and that they'll be phased in.   Tonight at 11, hear why Lee County leaders are in favor of the gas tax increase.

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