LAS VEGAS — Drivers in the Las Vegas valley soon will pay slightly more for gasoline, but they might also benefit from better roads.
The Clark County Commission voted Tuesday to tie local fuel taxes to inflation. The change is expected to raise gas taxes by about 10 cents over the next three years. Drivers now pay 52.2 cents in federal, state and local taxes at the pump, with 9 cents going to the county.
The Regional Transportation Commission has proposed dozens of infrastructure projects on local roads and highways. The tax is expected to generate as much as $700 million for these and other projects in the coming years.
The commission voted 6-1 for the tax. Commissioner Steve Sisolak voted against it, saying the tax placed an undue burden on already struggling residents. He also expressed skepticism about how many of the resulting construction jobs would be local hires.
Dozens of construction workers packed the meeting, wearing orange union T-shirts. They said the tax would create urgently needed jobs.
Commissioners focused on the long-term benefits of improving the area’s roads.
“I don’t mind paying a little more for fuel to end up where I’m going a little quicker,” Commissioner Tom Collins said.
More than half of Nevada’s locally maintained roads need improvement, according to a study by the Washington, D.C.-based transportation research organization TRIP.
Voters will get a chance to weigh in on the tax in 2016. A few speakers hostile to the tax asked commissioners why they wouldn’t put it to a vote by the public in the first place.
The Nevada Legislature paved the way for the tax earlier this year with a bill allowing counties to impose new fuel taxes and tie tax rates to inflation.
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said the infusion was long overdue.
“We should be the East Coast of the West Coast, and there’s only one way to get there — to have the infrastructure to be able to transport your goods and your people,” she said.
It will be the first local gas tax increase in two decades.