Alabama’s new gas tax, which takes effect Sunday, will provide the City of Dothan another revenue source to fund the expansion of Denton Road.
Dothan City Commissioners approved the city’s Rebuild Alabama Transportation Plan Wednesday afternoon during a special-called meeting. Cities and counties must solidify a plan for the application of new gas tax receipts by the end of the month, according to the law passed in March.
In the first year, Dothan officials anticipate collecting about $270,000, and determined the Denton Road project – which expands the thoroughfare to five lanes between Westgate Parkway and Ross Clark Circle – provided the best usage of funds.
“It made the most sense since it’s supposed to let to contract in November,” Dothan Public Works Director Charles Metzger said. “We wanted to make sure (the money is) used in 2020.”
Metzger said if the city fails to use the funds next year, it could reduce the amount the state sends in the next allocation.
City officials have been planning the expansion of Denton Road for several years – even constructing a needed bridge replacement to include space for the extra lanes. The city has also collected a few years’ worth of its Southeast Alabama Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) funds to help support the estimated $7.9 million project.
As part of the utilization of MPO funds, the city must match some of the money. Usually Dothan provides 20 percent of the project cost but will match about 34 percent of the Denton Road initiative due to its scope, Metzger said.
The city expects to pay about $2.9 million toward the Denton Road effort.
Under the new gas tax law, cities receive an 8 percent share of the generated revenue – which is expected to top $320 million per year when the full tax has been enacted. After the initial six cents-per-gallon increase takes effect Sunday, an additional two cents will be added in 2020 and 2021.