Georgia trucking companies take on state’s use of fuel tax dollars

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Updated Oct 15, 2015

fueling2Three Georgia-based carriers and the state’s trucking association have filed a class-action lawsuit against Georgia’s revenue department claiming its use of at-pump fuel taxes for non-highway spending violates the state’s Constitution.

The Georgia Motor Trucking Association, J&M Tank Lines, F&W Transportation and Prolan Logistics filed the suit earlier this month, arguing all revenue obtained from state and locally collected fuel taxes should be spent “for public roads and bridges or road construction and maintenance,” according to the group’s complaint.

The lawsuit stems from the recent passage of a bill by the Georgia legislature, dubbed the Local Motor Fuel Taxes law, that allows local governments to raise fuel taxes and use the proceeds for education spending and water and sewer projects. Per the law, localities could raise fuel taxes by as much as 15 cents a gallon for non-highway spending measures, according to court documents.

The GMTA and trucking company plaintiffs argue those provisions directly violate a clause in the state Constitution that says “all money derived from motor fuel taxes” be spent on “providing and maintaining…public roads and bridges…and for…road construction and maintenance.”

The plaintiffs in the case have asked the court to issue an order requiring collected fuel taxes to adhere to Constitutional requirements and that all money collected as a result of the new Georgia law be deposited into a special account pending due process of the lawsuit.

GMTA and the carriers have also asked the court to declare the law unconstitutional.  

The Georgia Municipal Association, however, disagrees with the plaintiffs’ assertions, it writes on its website. GMA says as the taxes will not be levied by the state, they can be spent on non-transportation projects.