'It's Not A Tax - It's A User Fee'
Liz Farmer reported on the press conference following the annual address with particular attention on Donohue's recommendation to increase the gas tax.
"A lot of people in the Chamber get a little squishy because a lot of people on [Capital] Hill don't like anything that sounds like a tax,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue said. “It’s not a tax, it’s a user fee. And if you don’t want to ride on the roads you don’t have to pay for it.”
The CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has repeated his call to raise the gas tax to replenish the Highway Trust Fund that pays for roads and public transit, funded primarily from fuel taxes. He is not calling for a massive, one-time increase.
“You do a little bit a year for a couple years and it'll make a big difference”, he said.
Earlier this week, a report by Wells Fargo analyst Randy Gerardes noted that a 5 cent increase in the federal gas tax would be sufficient enough to cover the $147 billion funding shortfall that is projected for the transportation fund through 2022.
Since 2008, Congress has been forced to kick in $52.8 billion to patch the sinkhole in the federal highway building fund; states have been forced to spend money from other sources or even turned rural roads from pavement back to gravel to keep maintenance costs down. The U.S. Government Accounting Office says over the next 10 years, the federal road jar will run $110 billion short without changes.