Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

'It's Not A Tax - It's A User Fee'

So said Thomas Donohue, CEO of the world's largest business organization, in calling for raising the gas tax at a press conference following the annual State of American Business address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
January 20, 2013, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

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.

With the topic of his speech being primarily the America's debt, the gas tax increase is not just a matter of funding infrastucture investment but on stemming the country's red ink; a 15-cent gas tax increase was one of the recommendations of the deficit commission.  In fact, as noted here recently:
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.
Donohue's address called for "federal tax reform in order to grow jobs domestically" although the gas tax increase was not mentioned in it - it arose only in the press conference.
Full Story:
Published on Thursday, January 10, 2013 in Governing
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email