Maine Lawmaker Proposes Seasonal Gas Tax Aimed at Tourists

Could Maine's summer tourists pay more for gas?

One Maine lawmaker believes visitors should chip in to help cover $150 million in annual road repairs currently being deferred each year.

Maine State Rep. Andrew McLean, the chair of the state's House Transportation Committee, says the state should increase its gas tax from June to the end of October from 30 cents to 37 cents per gallon.

The rest of the year, the tax would fall to 27 cents per gallon.

McLean says he is open to other proposals, but wants to make sure the lawmakers find them quickly before roads and bridges become unsafe and even more costly to fix.

He also does not believe a summer gas tax would deter visitors to the Pine Tree State.

"They're not going to skip visiting Acadia or skip visiting Kathadin," said McLean. "People from New York and Massachusetts can afford to spend a few extra cents to help Maine fix our roads and bridges."

Maine drivers at Waldo's General Store in Falmouth were a little more lukewarm on the proposal.

Chris Pray, owner of a new Portland-based tour company that he started this winter, says a summer tax hike would negatively affect his business.

"We started up in January, so for our bottom line, it would definitely affect us," he said, adding that a van he drives for work "costs $55 to fill up."

Rep. McLean says his proposal will be discussed in committee in Augusta on April 2.

If it were to be approved by the full legislature, the seasonal gas tax would, at the earliest, take effect in September, 90 days after Maine's legislature adjourns for the summer.

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