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CITY OFFICIALS SEEK BOOST IN GAS-TAX SHARE

SHARE CITY OFFICIALS SEEK BOOST IN GAS-TAX SHARE

More than 200 mayors and city council members converged on Capitol Hill Wednesday to press lawmakers for a larger share of the state's gasoline-tax revenue.

Currently local governments receive 25 percent of the tax, while the state gets 75 percent. But The Utah League of Cities and Towns said 25 percent isn't enough to cover local government's costs of maintaining roads."Some cities subsidize their state road funds 3 to 1," said League Director Ken Bullock.

Because the state relies entirely on state and federal gasoline-tax money for its road-building budgets, many mayors see an inequity in the way the gasoline-tax money is distributed.

"There is a lot of money not going to the cities when we are generating the money at the gas pump," said Park City Mayor Brad Olch.

So the league is proposing a 70-30 split of the money, basing the change on a study - financed by state and local governments - that recommended cities and counties receive a larger share of the gasoline tax. The change would take effect after a gas-tax increase.

Lawmakers are still considering whether to increase the state's gas tax.

The league told local government officials that HB130 - a bill that would make the 70-30 split law - has 10 sponsors in the House. The League was holding a luncheon for lawmakers at a local hotel Wednesday to twist a few more arms.

Many lawmakers are sympathetic. "But I don't see that necessarily translating into more funds," said House Majority Whip Christine Fox, R-Lehi.

She explained that state highways and freeways are also in dire need of repairs and need the money. Those state needs put some cities, such as Salt Lake City, that have freeways passing through, in a quandary about whether state or local roads need more money.