Ballot question targets automatic gas tax hikes; opponents say indexing vital for maintenance

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In this Sept. 30, 2014 photo, Dana Ripley, of Winthrop, Mass., fills the gas tank of his truck at a service station in Andover, Mass. In Ballot Question 1 in the Nov. 4 election, Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to keep or repeal an automated yearly increase of the state gasoline tax. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


In this Sept. 30, 2014 photo, Dana Ripley, of Winthrop, Mass., fills the gas tank of his truck at a service station in Andover, Mass. In Ballot Question 1 in the Nov. 4 election, Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to keep or repeal an automated yearly increase of the state gasoline tax. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


BOSTON — If approved, Question 1 on the November ballot wouldn't lower the state's 24 cents per gallon gas tax. But it could stop future increases that would otherwise occur automatically and without any say by elected lawmakers.

Supporters of the initiative view that as a clear-cut "taxation without representation" issue. But those urging a no vote on the question warn that passage would seriously undermine progress in fixing crumbling state infrastructure, since revenue from the gas tax goes toward maintaining roads and bridges.

The ballot question would repeal a provision in the 2013 transportation financing law that indexes the gas tax inflation, meaning as the Consumer Price Index rises, so does the tax.

Opponents of the question say indexing would have a small impact on most Massachusetts drivers while generating $1 billion over the next decade.

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