Gas tax hike or else? Is this New Jersey, Sen. Rausch?
Clement recently decided it was in his interest to tell the Legislature that it should not just increase the gas tax but should also bring expanded gambling to the state in the form of a new casino. Having the Department of Transportation head stick his nose into that very contentious issue was a bit startling. One would guess that Clement is carrying water for his boss, Gov. Maggie Hassan.
He fumed that truckers had benefited from past legislative action that raised the legal weight limit on New Hampshire roads and highways and maybe he would have to propose dropping those limits. He also said that maybe New Hampshire should increase its weight fine on our interstate highways to be as onerous as those in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts.
He is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He carries some weight and apparently thinks he can throw it around at will. But is this really the way New Hampshire's Legislature wants to do business?
The BIA says 100 percent of any tax increase should be directed "solely to the maintenance and improvement'' of roads and bridges. It also wants the Legislature, on a biennial basis, to "assess whether current and anticipated highway fund revenues meet road and bridge infrastructure needs.''