By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam residents will get a temporary gas tax relief under a new law that suspends surcharges on liquid fuel for a period of 180 days effective immediately.
"While efforts are underway nationally to stabilize gas prices, we must do what we can at the local level to alleviate the strain experienced by our community. This means studying ways in which our government contributes to the price at the pump," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said in a letter to the legislature after signing Sen. Joe San Agustin's Bill 295-36, which is now Public Law 36-105.
Bill 295-36 was among the gas tax relief measures tackled by the legislature during an emergency session on Friday.
According to its fiscal note, the gas tax moratorium would reduce revenue by $4.5 million for the Guam Highway Fund and $157,000 for the Public Transit Fund.
The new law shifts the burden of funding the gap in revenue from the fuel tax and surcharges for the Highway Fund and the Public Transit Fund to the general fund, preserving critical funding for secondary road maintenance and public transportation.
"Several factors have contributed to the recent rise in gas prices, not the least of which is the surge in the cost of crude oil resulting in large part from the war in Ukraine," the governor said.
Local pump price has increased to $6.48 for regular unleaded, compared to $4.61 just one year ago.
"Our island is certainly not alone in experiencing the financial strain from the rising cost of fuel - the country and the world share this struggle. And it is true that the cost of fuel is anticipated to rise further in the coming months," the governor said.
"While there is more work to be done to achieve a comprehensive long-term solution to the rising cost of fuel, including a more meaningful transition to lifestyles that are less reliant on fossil fuels, every effort, however incremental, can help those in our community who need it today," she added.