Momentum builds in Congress for raising the federal gas tax

Record-low gas prices across the U.S. have given rise to fresh talk in Washington of raising the federal gas tax for the first time in over 20 years, with leading Republicans now saying a hike must not be ruled out.

The GOP has long resisted calls from business leaders and others to boost the 18.4 cent-per-gallon tax as a way to pay for upgrades to the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Yet in recent days, senior Senate Republicans have said they want to keep options open and that “nothing is off the table” when weighing the best mechanisms to pay to finance infrastructure projects.

So much for GOP opposing tax increases, but some members are calling it a “user fee,” not a tax. :smiley:


I would highly doubt that the gas tax will be raised, unless it is part of some comprehensive tax reform. The incentives are just not there for republicans.

Actually, it’s the GOP in the Senate proposing raising the gas tax.

Of course democrats never saw a tax increase they didn’t like, so they’ll go along with it.


I hope this is fought.

The oil prices are rising again soon, and they are gonna rise hard. And if the tax is raised, matters will be worse than before.

Doesn’t anybody recognize a bubble when their heads are in it?


The GOP is only against the misuse of tax money. Using taxpayer money to fix the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges is legitimate. Everyone wants good roads and bridges. But funding abortions and “sex-change” operations is a misuse of taxpayer money since these are things which a lot of people don’t want.

Right, cuz GOP politicians would never misuse taxpayers dollars. :rolleyes:


I’m betting the gasoline tax will be raised. It seems Washington, whether Dem or GOP, can’t resist the lure of an easy tax. With gas prices low, hey, the public won’t notice. When even Charles Krauthammer writes in favor of it, I can see the pump prices rising already!

The current level of federal spending on transportation is about $50 billion per year, but the gas tax only brings in about $34 billion annually at its current rate.

Transportation advocates have argued that increasing the gas tax for the first time since 1993 would be the easiest way to close the gap. Lawmakers’ reluctance to ask drivers to pay more at the pump has doomed previous attempts to increase the gas tax.

The tax increase may fill the $16 billion gap now – yet what’s from stopping the spending increasing to $66 billion per year (continuing the spending deficit)?

It seems a tax increase is needed but fiscal discipline seems a greater need.

Yes, and republicans have proven that fiscal discipline is not their strong point.

The republicans cannot take the high road here, no.

The federal fuel tax hasn’t been raised since 1993. Meanwhile, passenger car fuel efficiency has risen substantially (by about eight mpg). Source: USDOT

So, unless you’re driving more, you’re paying less in fuel tax than you were ten or more years ago.

And is beyond argument that our transportation infrastructure is falling apart. The money to maintain (and expand) it has to come from somewhere.

They are a little late. Here in the Land of Fruits and Nuts, the state gas tax has gone up already by 10 cents, with more to come. Gotta fight that global warming, don’tcha know! :mad:

I hear you. I live in New York, and I own a car, and buy gas. We’ve got an even higher gas tax than you do (the Land of Fruits and Nuts is California, right?).

But our roads and bridges are falling apart. Some need repair. Some need replacement. And some need expansion.

This has got to hurt those on the lower end who are finally able to afford to drive somewhere. Businesses who use up a lot of gasoline can always write the increase off.

This is why they want to attach the tax rate with inflation rates.


Not a bad idea. And perhaps there’s some way to index it to fuel efficiency increases, too.

There was talk about that too, when I heard the first report on the radio yesterday.


In other news, government hunts for loose change in your pockets.
Film at 11.

It’s a regressive tax. Democrats would be smart to make hay with this.

It is a regressive tax, and that’s unfortunate. It may be that the burden will fall most heavily on those who can least afford it, although I suspect that middle-class suburban managerial types put plenty of miles, maybe more miles, on the road than the poor. At least around here.

But I’m not sure what the alternative is. We really are in trouble when it comes to transportation infrastructure.

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