Higher fuel taxes in Vermont are almost a forgone conclusion.
The state Senate on Friday approved a hike in an overwhelming decision. It increases the diesel tax 4 cents per gallon over two years. The gasoline tax would move 7.5 cents higher during the same time.
Supporters say the money is “a necessary evil” because it’s needed to keep the state from losing out on more than $55 million in federal road building and repair dollars.
Critics argue the tax is regressive. Some trucking interests in the state say they can only afford about half of the amount in the Senate measure.
Earlier the Vermont House passed a tax increase on gasoline and no hike on diesel, but the taxes would rise or fall with inflation.
It is now up to lawmakers to reconcile differences in the two pieces of legislation before they can proceed to a final vote.
Related Story: 4/8/2013 -- Vermont Considering Tax Hikes for Diesel and Gasoline