February 18, 2016
According to The News Journal, state Reps. Sean Matthews (D-Talleyville) and Michael Mulrooney’s (D-Pennwood) proposal to raise the gas tax comes two years after Gov. Jack Markell unsuccessfully attempted the same in 2014.
The increase would raise Delaware’s gas tax from 23 cents to 33 cents and would be the state’s first increase to the tax since 1995.
The plan from Matthews and Mulrooney might be capable of gaining more supporters due to the fact it expires after one year in order to allow the state to decide if it wants to keep the increase based on oil prices.
But some Republicans in the state have come out against the plan because they say it would be harmful to the economy. Rep. Mike Ramone (R-Middle Run Valley) said the state currently benefits from East Coast travelers filling up on gas at cheaper prices than in surrounding states and raising the gas tax would be tantamount to giving away a steady source of income to other states.
But Matthews said the issue of maintaining the state’s highways and bridges should have support on both sides of the aisle.
“I would hope that this could be a bipartisan issue. I think all members of the General Assembly, when they’re out and about, are hearing that people want work done on these roads. Until somebody figures out a way to get roads built for free, we have to pay for them,” Matthews said. “… We are very open to ideas about how exactly the money that would be raised from the tax would be spent,” Matthews said. “We have to start the discussion somewhere, and we think this is a good starting point.”