A bill that would increase Wyoming's fuel tax by 9 cents per gallon was endorsed by a legislative committee on Tuesday and is now set to go to the Wyoming House of Representatives after the legislature reconvenes on March 1.

The vote in favor of House Bill 26 in the House Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee was 6-3. The bill has the support of the Wyoming Department of Transportation as well as some industry groups, such as the Wyoming Trucking Association. and the Wyoming Association of Municipalities.

It's widely viewed as being far less popular with the general public, however.

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The bill would increase the state fuel tax from the current 24 cents per gallon to 33 cents per gallon. Wyoming last increased its fuel tax in 2013, when it went up by a dime a gallon. The fiscal note attached to the bill estimates that if it became law, it would raise roughly $60.3 million per year.

The fiscal note also mentions a provision in the state constitution that establishes guidelines for how revenues from fuel taxes can be spent: ''Article 15, Section 16 of the Wyoming Constitution requires that fuel tax revenues be used for the costs of construction, maintenance and traffic enforcement of Wyoming's highways, roads, and streets.'' Roughly $40 million per year would go to the state highway fund, with the balance going for local road and highway programs.

The bill is sponsored by the legislature's Joint Interim Revenue Committee. The Wyoming Department of Transportation is currently facing a funding shortfall of over $350 million.

The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene in Cheyenne on March 1, but some committee meetings on bills that have been filed for the session are being held this week.


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