Urban Fold

Increasing The Gas Tax - Impossible?

Former OH Sen. George Voinovich and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are spearheading the push, but they are by no means alone. The groups came together in 2009 - another one may be in the works with the current transportation extension ending March 31.

Increasing the gas tax is supported by diverse groups for a variety of reasons.

"The Chamber of Commerce, for its part, believes the gas tax is the best way to keep funding road projects because it's simple."

"The Chamber has long held that a modest increase in fuel taxes is needed to support the federal highway and transit programs. It is currently the most straightforward approach to linking users to infrastructure and providing resources without increasing the federal budget deficit or debt," said Janet Kavinoky, the Chamber's executive director of transportation and infrastructure."

Unions and others joined the gas tax increase movement when the current transportation bill expired in 2009.

"We are not going to raise the gas tax. I will be emphatic on that - we can't," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Congress in 2009.

Since then, President Obama has pushed for extensions, while also pushing jobs bills based on infrastructure funding.

The irony is apparent to Pete Ruane, president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. "If they had passed this bill on time, the kind of robust spending [former House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee] Chairman [Jim] Oberstar was pushing, they'd now be the beneficiaries politically of major job changes in the economy," he said.

And the funding wouldn't have come from increasing the federal deficit.

Thanks to The Nooner

Full Story: Transportation groups want to increase gas tax


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