Bridge and Road Safety Accountability Act (BaRSAA)
House Bill 473 (Revise highway revenue laws, carried by Representative Frank Garner), passed by the 65th Legislature and signed by Governor Bullock on May 3, 2017, provides for a graduated 6 cent increase in the motor fuel tax by fiscal year 2023. Each fiscal year, 35% or $9.8 million of the proceeds (whichever is greater) is allocated to the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the remainder (approximately $21 million by FY 2021) is allocated to local governments through a new a Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Account (BaRSAA).
Allocation of Revenues Collected
The allocation of the motor fuel tax revenues refers to the MDT calculation of and notification to local governments of the amounts available for each entity on an annual basis. Under HB 473, MDT began to assess the new tax on July 1, 2017. Fuel that is distributed in a month is reported to MDT on the 25th of the following month, and the tax on that fuel is then collected 5 days later.
The first allocation of funds by MDT on March 1, 2018 consisted of the additional motor fuel tax revenues collected for July-October, 2017 (“FY2018 BaRSAA funds”). Every year thereafter, the allocation will consist of a full 12 months of collections, allocated to the BaRSAA account on March 1st of every year.
Beginning March 1st of each year, local governments may request distribution of their allocation from MDT. Local governments must match all distributions from the BaRSAA account with a 5% funding match.
Funds can be used:
(a) to pay for the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of rural roads, city or town streets and alleys, bridges, or roads and streets that the city, town, county, or consolidated city-county government has the responsibility to maintain; or
(b) as the match for federal funds used for the construction of roads and streets that are part of the national, primary, secondary, or urban highway systems, or roads and streets that the city, town, county, or consolidated city-county government has the responsibility to maintain.