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Gas tax bill dies in Transportation Committee

Appeal Capitol Bureau

Chairman John Oceguera, D-Las Vegas, said Friday Nevada’s Assembly Transportation Committee will not take any action on a bill that would raise Nevada’s gasoline tax.

“Nevada’s gas taxes are already among the highest in the country,” he said. “Adding to that burden is irresponsible at this point, and will not happen on my watch.”

The Nevada Highway Users Alliance requested the legislation, saying the state faces a shortfall in funding to retire highway bonds.

For years, Nevada has bonded for major highway projects. The annual amount of money from the state Highway Fund to pay for those bonds is $49 million in 2005 and up to $98 million in 2008 through 2011.

“We will not have the funds available to meet this obligation without taking money away from other critical road projects,” Oceguera said.

But while he agreed the problem must be addressed, he said higher gas taxes is not the answer.

“We cannot simply turn a blind eye to this problem of inadequate funds to maintain and build roads, a problem that will not just go away. I am working with my colleagues to find answers other than an increase in the gas tax,” Oceguera said.