County to see increased funding for road projects
Early estimates suggest Camden County could see an additional $1.6 million in revenue for the road and bridge department when the new gas tax takes effect.
The tax goes into effect on Oct. 1. With the additional tax collections, the state, county and local governments will see an increase in CART funds that are designated specifically for roads and bridges.
As the gas tax goes up in increments through 2025, the CART funds allocated will also increase.
For Camden County, Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty said the increase will allow the county to take on projects that have been on the waiting list for years. It will also give the Camden County Road and Bridge Department the ability to raise wages to compete with local companies that are paying above what the county can afford for drivers and equipment operators.
Camden County has a little over 400 miles of paved road. Depending on the type and volume of traffic on a county road, there is about a 20-year life span for asphalt.
To maintain the paved roads, Camden County needs to overlay around 20 miles of road every year just to keep up. Right now, the county is lucky to get 10 miles overlaid each year.
"As the tax increases in increments, it is going to allow us to get caught up on paving projects over the next few years, offset ongoing repairs/expenses and get pay levels brought up to a competitive level," Hasty said.
"Once the tax rate matures in 2025, the county expects to be able to begin paving some of the gravel roads, add more safety features and improve the low water bridges."
Camden County currently receives approximately $2 million a year in CART funds. Collections dropped in 2020 to $1.8 million during the pandemic as people decreased their travel and worked from home. So far for 2021, Camden County has collected $175,000 in CART funds.
About the Gas Tax
The gas tax bill signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson implements an additional fuel tax in five increments of 2.5 cents between Oct. 1 of this year through July 1, 2025. Each annual increase is less than the constitutional limit allowed by the constitutional limit on tax increases without voter approval.
By July 1, 2025, the tax will total 29.9 cents a gallon. The new tax is expected to generate $375 million annually to the state’s road. City and county governments will receive $139 million for city and county governments designated for local roads by 2027.
The bill included a provision for motorists who document fuel purchases to file a claim receiving a rebate on the new tax. For those who drive an electric vehicle or one using another alternative fuel, there will be a 20 percent rise in the cost of an alternative fuel decal purchased when registration is renewed.