Lee County roads

More than a dozen Lee Road 250 residents attended a January 2016 Lee County Commission meeting to express concern over the condition of the road. County Engineer Justin Hardee said at the time that the road was graded among the worst in the county. (File photo)

Sometime later this year, drivers in Alabama will be paying six cents more a gallon for gas.

It will be 10 cents a gallon more within three years.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law on March 12 to give final approval to the state’s new gas tax, which is intended to provide a major boost in funding road and bridge construction and repairs.

There is no doubt that our roads and bridges need help, and adding a tax such as the gas tax means that those who use the roads and bridges will be contributors in helping to pay to fix them.

Making that tax a 10-cent jump, however, is steeper than what many taxpayers were expecting, and as one local reader quipped, “there are roads that need fixing… and they will still need fixing after they get this tax.”

Meaning, there remain disgruntled taxpayers who have skepticism about the money going where it needs to go.

Supporters of the increase said Alabama's current 18-cent gas tax has been unchanged since 1992, leaving the state without adequate funds to replace aging bridges and to improve congested and dangerous roads.

Ivey and the Legislature picked a good time for a surprisingly full bandwagon on Goat Hill to pass this tax. The roads are bad and the economy is good.

It will be absolutely paramount that the same state leadership builds trust with the taxpayers, and thus voters, over the long haul in providing year-by-year accountability for the money.

And more importantly, show results, as in improved roads and safer bridges.

"We addressed this because it's the responsible thing to do. It's been 27 years since we had an increase in revenue. We had to do something," Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh said after the vote.

That done, it is time to put the money to work.

And few disagree about one thing: There is plenty to do.

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