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4-cent gas tax to support ECAT

The price of gas is going up four cents a gallon in Escambia County starting tomorrow.
The increase is expected to raise about four-million dollars a year.
 As Christina Leavenworth reports, the money is earmarked for ECAT to fund public transportation.

Four cents a gallon may not sound like a whole lot, but based on an average tank, you are looking at an extra sixty cents every time you fill up, and if you fill up once a week, about 30 dollars more a year.

Cathy Berthiaume understands pain at the pump more so than most people. She drives a cab for a living. So every time gas goes up, she feels it immediately.

"You get here and think gas prices will be the same."

She drove out of her way to get gas for $3.08, because Wednesday it will be $3.12.

"I would drive an extra ten miles to get gas four cents cheaper, because it makes a difference in the long run it affects you."

The tax will fund public buses here in Escambia County.
Martha Cawthon drives around 300 miles a week to help elderly people.
She understands the need for public transportation, but the hike does make things more difficult for her family.

"In this day and time, when you are on a tight budget, limited income, if it's not coming in, you can't pay it out."

County commissioners hope with the dedicated source of revenue, they will be able to add more routes and drivers.
For people like Yolanda Robinson. It's her only way to get to work.

"We have to do what we have to do during these times."

"I'm going to get a car eventually. The community depends on this."

While they understand paying an extra four cents isn't fun for drivers, they say the bus system is critical for the county.

"If their car breaks down, they'll sure appreciate ECAT."

The county had originally discussed lowering property taxes this year to help off set the cost of the higher gas.
Commissioners say due to some unexpected costs, they weren't able to do that, but they will reexamine it again in 2014.
Reporting in Escambia County, Christina Leavenworth, Channel 3 News.