Lawmakers propose increase in gas tax to help fix Maine roads


    You soon may be paying more at the pump, as Maine’s gas tax could be going up to help fix the roads. (WGME)

    KENNEBUNK (WGME) -- You soon may be paying more at the pump, as Maine’s gas tax could be going up to help fix the roads.

    Democratic Representative Andrew McLean introduced two bills which could affect how much you pay at the pumps, one would increase the state tax year-round, and the other would only increase it seasonally.

    The current state tax on gas is about 30 cents per gallon, one of the bills would change the state tax so that during tourist season, about May to October, the gas tax would be increased by about 6 cents, and for the rest of the year it would stay at the current rate.

    Supporters say it would make sure that tourists are contributing to the funds used year-round to repair and maintain roads.

    Some members of the tourism community say that increasing the gas tax could end up discouraging some people from coming to Maine, and that the only people paying more will be Mainers.

    "Tax is the composition of the price of gas, and as we've seen high gas prices, often we have seen less visitors in the state, and I think the statistics bear that out," Hospitality Maine President Steve Hewin said.

    "We have an uptick in the number of tourists who come in every summer. So, part of the goal is to minimize the burden on Maine people, and export some of the cost on some of the people who are utilizing our structure," McLean said.

    Supporters also say that they don't want to pay extra taxes either, but say that the road problems the state has had is unacceptable, and that this is just one idea of how to fix it.

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