Although he is opposed to increasing the state's gas tax as some have advocated, State Representative Mark Pody has an idea to get TDOT and local road departments more money to operate.
In an interview with WJLE on Thursday, Representative Pody suggested reallocating a portion of money in the state's general fund to TDOT from taxes derived through the sale of tires and other automotive services.
"Gas prices are low and there's already a push now to add more gas taxes to it. On the federal level as well as the state level, there are people saying that because gas prices have dropped so much that if we're ever going to put a tax (increase) on now is the time to do it. I would rather see us do something different to give TDOT more money. For example, I'm trying to propose that any tax on tires sold be used. We're already getting that money. We can just take it out of the general fund and allocate that to TDOT and there are other things like that we can do to help fund TDOT. I'm not saying we shouldn't give them more money but I think we can reallocate the money we're collecting to that department. Anytime someone gets their auto repaired or oil changed we could take that portion of the tax on those services and use it for the roads and put that to the same formula that we have now so it goes to the locals (county road departments) and to the state (TDOT). We don't have to raise more taxes to do this and we can still get that money to the required areas," said Pody.
Tennessee imposes 21.4 cents in taxes per gallon of fuel. That hasn't been increased since 1989. The federal gas tax, which hasn't changed since 1993, is 18.4 cents per gallon, meaning drivers in Tennessee pay a total of 39.8 cents on each gallon of gas purchased.
Proponents of a gas tax hike have said more revenue is needed to keep pace with the costs of funding needed transportation road and bridge projects across the state.