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County voters being asked if they are willing to pay more at the pump for Nye road projects

Nye County voters will have an opportunity to decide whether they want the county to impose tax increases on certain motor vehicle fuels to pay for road projects within the county.

The additional county and state taxes are required to be calculated by applying a formula factoring a certain percentage based on street and highway construction cost inflation and can’t exceed 7.8 percent, according to the documents.

The tax would run from Jan. 19, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2026. Another ballot question would be required at that time to see if the tax would continue.

According to a study by the Department of Motor Vehicles, the indexed motor vehicle fuel taxes could result in approximately $52 million of additional revenue by the end of 2026. Of that amount, nearly $32 million would be allocated and disbursed directly to Nye County for road construction, maintenance and improvement related projects. The remaining portion would be allocated to the state for road construction, maintenance and improvement related projects specifically in Nye County.

The question is required by a state law passed in the last legislature in an attempt to fund transportation infrastructure projects.

If the ballot question is approved, Nye County commissioners would be required to impose the tax in the same manner as it would be required to impose the county taxes.

Part of the argument for approval is that “inflation in the cost of street and highway construction has eroded the purchasing power of motor vehicle fuel taxes. The gas tax has lost 38 percent of its value since Congress last increased it in 1993. Passage would merely index the current rates to inflation so that the purchasing power of our gas taxes remain static and county roads can be maintained.”

However, critics of the measure state, in part, that “Nevadans currently pay over 50 cents per gallon fuel tax. Volatile fuel prices have already driven up the cost of food, medicine, clothing, utilities, etc., and an automatic fuel tax index will add significantly to the burden of high energy costs.”

The practice of tying the fuel tax rate to the rate of certain street and highway construction cost inflation is called fuel tax indexing.

Under Nevada law, also known as the County Fuel Tax Law, counties are authorized to impose certain taxes on motor vehicle fuel and special fuels used in motor vehicles.

Under new state law, county commissioners in all counties, other than Clark and Washoe, are required to impose additional county taxes on motor vehicle fuel and various special fuels used in motor vehicles, if supported by a majority of the voters at the general election in November, according to the documents.

This question is unrelated to the county commission approved 5 cents per gallon gas tax increase implemented earlier this year.

NYE COUNTY BALLOT QUESTION #1

Shall the Nye County Board of Commissioners enact an ordinance to impose, for the period beginning on January 1, 2017 and ending on December 31, 2026, annual increases in the taxes on certain motor vehicle fuels based on construction inflation not to exceed 7.8 percent for the purpose of funding repairs and maintenance of roads and projects that will reduce traffic congestion?

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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