Gov. Butch Otter said he still wants a gas tax increase, but he's also willing to accept the interim committee to study transportation funding that House GOP leaders have proposed. He said his "counter offer" to House leaders is a delayed, 3-cent per gallon increase on July 1, 2011 and another 3-cent hike on July 1, 2012, which combined with the already-offered ethanol and DMV fees bill, would bring the package up to $75 million in new revenue. "I have seen well-intended and well-meaning people work on interim committees," Otter said, but often, "there was no result, and there was nothing to go forward. I believe having the 3-and-3 delayed implementation bill this day, then, would motivate that interim committee to attend to its work and to be as creative and come up with the real solution." If the committee finds a better solution than the delayed gas tax, Otter said he'd consider it, but he wants the tax approved now for planning purposes for transportation work. "We will continue to work, we will continue to try to go forward on the transportation funding, because it is so very important," Otter said. "We need certainty, and we need the $75 million in revenue."
If lawmakers accept the offer, the governor said, the legislative session could end by the end of the day Monday.