Tax on gas in Arkansas increases to fund needed road improvements

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — For the first time in 20 years, Arkansas drivers will see an increase in gas tax, but drivers we talked with didn't mind the price increase with its promised improvements.

As the price at the pump rises, so does the revenue to make much needed highway improvements.

"All the roads in Arkansas, I feel like, are pretty bad. I hit potholes every day in my little car, " West Memphis resident Jarrett Slater said.

Slater said he fuels up about once a week.

The state gas tax will rise about 3 cents to 24.5 cents per gallon. The tax on diesel fuel will go up 6 cents to 28.5 cents per gallon.

Those who will see a sharp increase are electric and hybrid drivers. Annual registration fees for electric vehicles will increase by $200 per vehicle and hybrids by $100. A spokesperson with the Arkansas Department of Transportation says these drivers are paying more for registration fees since they won't be taxed on gas or taxed less on gas.

The new law also includes a portion of millions of dollars from expected casino revenue in the state.

Altogether, lawmakers are expecting to generate $95 million for road improvements.

"If you actually see what it costs to repair highways when they continue to degrade, it goes up exponentially," Slater said.

An ADT spokesperson said the money will be going to system preservation, with Arkansas having the nation's 12th largest highway system there are lots of roads that need to be repaved and repaired. Right now there are no specific projects planned.

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