LISTEN – UM Study Released on Missoula Gas Tax Survey
The Missoula City Council has proposed a maximum two-cent per gallon gas tax, the proceeds of which would be used only for road repair and maintenance.
Ward Five's Julie Armstrong wrote in a Facebook post:
"Revenue from the tax, can only be used for roads and road maintenance in the county limits. That being said, it allows us to capture funds from anyone who purchases gasoline (not diesel) in the city limits (think tourists), and it can only be a max of 2 cents a gallon. Since we're to large to be considered a tourist town, we can't capture special option tourist taxes like Whitefish can. Currently, we only have one revenue stream into the city budget - your property taxes. That's it. There's nothing else. So, if you want some relief from a possible raise in those taxes to cover potholes, curbs, etc., then this is a way to do it. PLEASE if this is something you support, you need to reach out to your County Commissioners and let them know. They are the only ones that can put it on a ballot for your vote."
Before the council recommended the tax, a survey was commissioned by the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Director of Survey Research, John Baldridge said the survey basically centered around three questions.
"We asked people if they would support or oppose paying more taxes or fees only if the proceeds were spent on transportation improvements," Baldridge began. "Secondly, what would you want the revenue used for, and third, what type of tax would you be most willing to support?"
Baldridge provided results from the survey of citizens in the City of Missoula, as well as the urbanized area of Missoula County.
"48 percent of them favored paying more taxes or fees, while 29 percent were opposed." he said. "With regard to what folks would want the money spent on, 37.1 percent said was maintaining and repairing existing streets and roads. 19.1 percent wanted it spent on widening the roads, while 10 percent wanted it to be used for more bike lanes. Th third question regarding the type of fees or taxes, 40.3 percent said they would favor a 2 cent per gallon tax on fuel. The second most chosen was a three percent increase in development fees. paid for by new development. 15. 4 percent chose none."
As Armstrong mentioned in her Facebook post, only the Missoula County Commissioners have the authority to place such an issue on the ballot.