Blumenauer to Propose Deficit Commission's Gas Tax Increase

If it was good enough for Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Republican and Democrat authors of President Obama's deficit commission bearing their names, the phased, 15-cent fuel tax increase should be adopted, says Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).

Keith Laing writes that "Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is introducing legislation that would...increase the gas tax by 15 cents, matching a proposal that was included in the 2011 Simpson-Bowles budget reform recommendations. Blumenauer is scheduled to unveil his legislation to increase the federal gas tax during a news conference Wednesday."

The Oregon lawmaker is scheduled to appear with representatives from the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Labors International Union of North America, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Reconnecting America and the American Public Transportation Association. 

The Deficit Commission's final report [PDF] was released in December, 2010. Among it's many recommendation's was the gas tax increase, as listed by the Tax Policy Center:

  • Phase in an increase in the federal excise tax on gasoline of 15 cents per gallon (13.5 cents per gallon on average in 2015).

The bill is timely considering that the current, two-year surface transportation legislation, MAP-21, expires on Sept. 30, 2014, at which time the Highway Trust Fund, without new funding, will be insolvent as fuel taxes fall short of current transportation funding. That legislation funded the HTF with $54 billion per year, including $35 billion annually from the 18.4-cent gas tax and 24.4-cent diesel tax, unchanged since 1993.

Laing writes that "(t)ransportation advocates have pushed for a gas tax increase to close an approximately $20 billion shortfall in infrastructure funding that has developed as cars have grown more fuel efficient." MAP-21 closed the funding gap through a series of tax changes and subsidies from the General Fund but no increases in transportation user fees.

Full Story: Bill would nearly double federal gasoline tax

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