The Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday reduced the gas-pump burden on the state’s drivers in its plan to raise additional funds for roads and bridges, cutting the proposed state fuel excise tax by a nickel a gallon from the House’s legislation.

“One of our goals in the Senate was to keep gas prices as low as we can,” said Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Tommie Williams, R-Lyons. Lyons took the lead in writing the Senate’s version of the legislation, but it was presented to the committee by Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, the Senate majority whip.

The Senate bill would collect a 24-cent-per-gallon state fuel excise tax instead of the House bill’s 29.2 cents per gallon. It would also tax diesel fuel at the same amount, rather than the House’s 33 cents per gallon for diesel. Williams said 20 cents of the 24 cents in the Senate bill would be “revenue neutral.”

However, the Senate plan adds an annual highway user impact fee of $25 for passenger vehicles, $50 for big trucks and buses and $10 for motorcycles, The fee would be paid when vehicle tags are renewed. 

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