Release: May 18, 2004
Senator Robert Milacek
Senator Says Fuel Tax Bill Dead for Session
State Senator Robert
Milacek announced on Tuesday that legislation to let
Oklahomans vote on a fuel tax hike for transportation is
dead for the legislative session. The Enid Republican blamed
high fuel prices for the decision.
“It’s disappointing, because we’ve been
working on this a long time. I believe we had an excellent
shot of passing the bill and getting it to a vote of the
people—but no one could have predicted the gas prices
we’ve been seeing,” Milacek said.
House Bill 2632, which had been assigned to a conference
committee, called for a vote of the people on increasing
the state gas tax by 5 cents a gallon and diesel by 8 cents
a gallon. The increases would have been phased in over three
years, with the proceeds going to improve Oklahoma roads,
highways and bridges.
“This would have given us the funds we need to address
the fact that we rank first in the nation in unsafe bridges.
But increasing prices at the pumps have eroded support for
the measure. We had the votes to pass it in the Senate,
but not the House,” Milacek said.
Sen. Milacek said the current situation points
to the need for the United States to be less dependent on
foreign oil and the whims of OPEC. He said the federal government
needed to do more to increase domestic production.
Several months ago, Sen. Milacek announced he would not
be seeking another term in the Senate making this his last
attempt as a legislator to increase transportation funds
through a fuel tax increase. However, Milacek said he was
ready to assist anyone interested in taking up the cause
in the future.
“I’m still convinced that this would be good
for the state, but like so many other things, there is always
the matter of timing. Nevertheless, it is my hope that in
the near future the legislature will be able to revisit
this very serious issue,” Milacek said.
more information contact:
Communications Office - (405) 521-5774