S.B. 2859 calls for an eight percent increase in the state gas tax, as well as increases in vehicle registration and other user fees. Senate Transportation and Highways Chair Willie Simmons of Cleveland presented the measure to the committee Monday. But less than 24 hours after the introduction, Simmons effectively killed it by refusing to take it up.
Simmons says he wasn’t able to garner enough support from fellow lawmakers.
“What I did not want to do was to put the Senate in a position to vote on a measure that was on a ‘dead-end street,” says Simmons. “If we feel that we have an opportunity to put it on an ‘interstate’ and take it where it needs to go, we will do that. But just to vote on it knowing that it’s on a ‘dead-end street,’ I didn’t want to put my membership up to that.”
Efforts to improve the state’s roads and bridges are not over. Simmons was able to send what’s called a dummy bill to the Senate Finance Committee. That’s a bill that serves as a placeholder until another tax or bonding plan can be created.