PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - An increase in fuel efficiency is leading to a big decrease in fuel tax revenue, according to the executive director of the Maricopa Association of Governments.

"Effectively, we're getting 70 percent less revenue than we were in 1991," said Eric Anderson, who has been raising the alarm to anyone who will listen, from business leaders to political leaders to journalists.

"Nobody likes to pay more in taxes no doubt about it. But people don’t like to sit in traffic. They don’t like to have potholes in their streets," said Anderson.

The problem, according to Anderson, is that Arizona earns a large percentage of the money it spends on transportation infrastructure from an 18 cents per gallon fuel tax. That tax has remained the same since 1991.

But cars and trucks have become more fuel efficient and road construction has become much more expensive, which has resulted in a double-whammy of bad news for transportation planners.

"The good part is here in Maricopa County we continue to invest in transportation through regional and city taxes, but you get outside of Maricopa County and things are pretty grim," said Anderson.

He points to traffic tie-ups on I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff and I-10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande as examples of transportation needs that do not currently have funding.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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