Bill would allow cities and towns to charge local option gas tax

Communities can charge a tax of up to five cents per gallon under the bill

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (WWLP)—Potholes, uneven surfaced and cracked roads are some of the hassles you face on the roads everyday. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox) filed a bill to help your community pay to repair the roads and bridges you drive on.

If approved, your city or town could charge a local excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel.

“The roads and bridges, the infrastructure of all of our communities is crumbling,” Pignatelli told 22News. “It’s going to be very costly and if we in the state government can’t provide them the resources to do that, why would we prevent a local community from imposing a local option.”

But the plan would cost you. Communities can charge a tax of up to five cents per gallon under the bill.

State Senator Don Humason (R-Westfield) told 22News he thinks the tax is a bad idea with Massachusetts already imposing statewide gasoline tax of 24 cents per gallon. You may not know you’re paying the tax, but it’s included in the price you see at the pump. The money goes toward transportation-related issues, including highway maintenance.

“If roads and bridges are a priority, and I think they are, then they should be funded that way,” said Humason. “What we have to do then, as state government, is to try to find a better way to provide that revenue for them within the mechanism already in place.”

If passed, cities and towns can only use generated funds for repair and improvement of roads, bridges, pathways, public parking and public transit.

The bill is currently under review by the state’s Revenue Committee.