• ITVI.USA
    15,496.720
    85.590
    0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.743
    0.003
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,466.390
    90.520
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,496.720
    85.590
    0.6%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.743
    0.003
    0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,466.390
    90.520
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
American ShipperIntermodal

Rep. Blumenauer proposes 15¢ increase in gas tax

Congressman says larger user fee would help pay for highway, bridge investment.

   Rep. Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday filed a bill to raise money for the troubled Highway Trust Fund by hiking the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes by five cents in each of the next three years. The move comes on the heels of President Obama’s proposal this week for a six-year, $478 billion surface transportation plan for infrastructure investment and safety programs.
   The Congressional Budget Office last year reported that the Highway Trust Fund is on track to have a $132 billion shortfall by 2022. That’s because motor fuels taxes, the main source of revenue for the HTF, haven’t changed since 1993, while construction costs continue to rise. At the same time, less money is coming into the system because people are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles. Meanwhile, construction demand from states for repairs and new capacity continues to grow as parts of the highway system are reaching the end of their design life.
   The current federal gasoline tax is 18.3 cents per gallon and the diesel tax is $24.3 cents per gallon.
   Blumenauer said an increase in the fuel tax is the simplest way to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund, which is running low balances without bailouts from the General Fund. 
   He stressed that the money collected is a user fee, not a tax. 
   “Congress hasn’t dealt seriously with the funding issue for over 20 years and it’s time to act. The gas tax used to be an efficient road user fee, but with inflation and increased fuel efficiency, especially for some types of vehicles, there is no longer a good relationship between what road users pay and how much they benefit,” the Oregon Democrat said. “The average motorist is paying about half as much per mile as they did in 1993. There’s a broad and persuasive coalition that stands ready to support Congress, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National AFL-CIO, the construction and trucking industry, cyclists, professional groups, numerous associations of small and medium businesses, local governments, and transit agencies. We just need to give them something to support.”
   In 2011, the Federal Highway Administration estimated that over $70.9 billion worth of repairs were needed just to maintain safe bridges, and that number has since increased. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that surface transportation in the United States needs over $2 trillion of investment in order to remain economically competitive by 2020. 
   In order to maintain current funding levels, the Highway Trust Fund will need more than $15 billion a year in transfers by 2018 to supplement gas tax receipts, according to the CBO. At the current pace, federal transportation spending will drop one third by 2024.
   The UPDATE Act, H.R. 680, would bring in $210 billion over 10 years, according to Blumenauer.
   “Congressman Blumenauer’s proposal for a modest adjustment to the gas tax is a no-brainer for Americans concerned about road and bridge safety. Every day, Americans pay what amounts to a pothole penalty because of the failure of Congress to fully invest in our nations crumbling roads, bridges and transit.” Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers International Union of North America, said in a statement.  
   “Increasing the federal motor fuels tax is a long-overdue proposal to provide the dedicated funding needed to maintain our highways, intermodal connections and other related infrastructure projects. Investing in and growing our nation’s transportation infrastructure is essential to remaining competitive in today’s increasingly global economy,” added Laura Lane, president of public affairs for UPS.

We are glad you’re enjoying the content

Sign up for a free FreightWaves account today for unlimited access to all of our latest content

By signing in for the first time, I give consent for FreightWaves to send me event updates and news. I can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. For more information please see our Privacy Policy.