Missoula County Commissioners are asking for the public’s input on a proposal to add a two cents per gallon gas tax in order to fund city and county road maintenance.

Commissioner Josh Slotnik spoke to KGVO News on Monday afternoon about the request to place the issue on the June 2 ballot.

“Last week we got a letter from a handful of citizens, most notably from the Missoula Organization of Realtors as well as some of our major engineering companies, asking us to consider adding a two cent per gallon gas tax because that money will be specifically slated for roads, and these entities are concerned that our roads are in disrepair, and this would provide a new source of revenue to repair and maintain our roads without an increase in property taxes, and I think most importantly, this would be a way that we could get out 1.5 million tourists that come every year and drive all over our county to actually cover the impact on our roads that they’re driving on.”

Slotnik said an analysis has been done to determine the cost per citizen in Missoula County.

“This would affect the average driver, the person who fills up a tank of gas, they would end up paying an additional $10.56 per year,” he said. “What is really moving to me is that this would generate about $1.2 million per year for our roads, and $400,000 of that, about 33 percent, would be coming from our tourists. The monies from the tax would be split evenly between the city and county public works departments for road repairs and maintenance.”

Slotnik said the voters will decide whether to establish the two cents per gallon gas tax.

“This will be part of the primary ballot in June,” he said. “It will be on the ballot, so when a person goes into the voting booth, or fills out their absentee ballot it’ll be something they can mark with a pencil.”

According to a Missoula County press release:

‘The first public hearing on the issue will be at the commissioners’ public meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Sophie Moiese Room at the Missoula County Courthouse. The board will take constituent comments until the public meeting at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 5, when they will vote on whether to adopt the resolution.

If adopted, commissioners will sign the resolution at a special administrative public meeting at 3 p.m. Monday, March 9, in Administration Building Room 206 so it can be delivered to the Elections Office by the 5 p.m. filing deadline. 

In addition to attending the meetings, the public can submit comment by calling 406-258-4877 or emailing bcc@missoulacounty.us.’