Feds double up on District gas tax rebate

Decision pending on what to do with the cash

DOH

For the second time in two years, the District of Houston is to benefit from a doubling of the gas tax rebate provided by the federal government.

This time the boost is worth $181,166 on top of the scheduled annual $189,608 which represents the eighth year of a 10-year commitment by the federal government to return gas tax monies to local governments.

Legislation authorizing the extra payment was passed by Parliament in the last days leading up to the summer recess.

District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck said last week it was too early to indicate how the extra money will be spent.

“The ultimate use of these funds will be subject to a council decision, and it would be too early to speculate how these funds will be used,” he said.

The amounts provided under the rebate program are generally based on a local government’s population based on the last available federal census.

In 2019, the extra payment was for $194,178.

This year the District will be spending $100,000 of the gas tax rebate on paving, $15,000 on signals and improved signs at the Jamie Baxter-Mountainview Drive pedestrian crossing and adding to the budget for the completion of the Hwy16 sidewalk and 9th St. revitalization projects.

Over the next years, the District will be gradually increasing the annual amount dedicated to its paving program from the gas tax rebate. That mean, for example, this year’s $100,000 for paving will increase to $110,000 in 2022 and to $120,000 in 2023.

In previous years, the gas tax rebate was used to finance the concept plan for the replacement of the community hall and late last year $50,000 was used to commission the just-released plan for a new firehall. It was also used to top up the amount needed to replace the ammonia plant at the arena.