Federal gas tax hike may get White House backing

Oct. 26, 2017

Apparently “Trump’s Trillion” is not entirely out of legislative contention; Congressional GOP members oppose increase

According to political monitoring site The Hill, the Trump administration may back the first hike in the federal gasoline tax in decades in order to pay for the president’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure package.

It is reported that Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn told moderate House lawmakers at a private meeting earlier this week that the chance to vote on a gas tax hike will take place early next year as part of an infrastructure bill.

An undisclosed industry source indicated that the White House intends to back a 7-cent per gallon gas tax increase to pay for U.S. roads, bridges, highways and other public works, though it remains unclear if the proposal would be included in initial infrastructure legislation or if the administration would push to have it added at the committee level.

Trump signaled an openness to raising the federal gas tax earlier this year, telling Bloomberg News that it is something he would “certainly consider.”

Conservative opposition to the tax hike was immediate and not entirely unexpected.

The infrastructure proposal, sold on the campaign trail as a 100-day priority for Trump, has taken a back seat to other GOP issues such as tax reform and health care. The Highway Trust Fund, which provides money for road construction and other transportation projects across the country, is financed by a federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gas and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. But the taxes have been frozen since 1993, even as the buying power of the revenue has been sapped by improvements in car fuel efficiency. A hike in the tax would help fix the ailing trust fund, which the Congressional Budget Office predicts will be insolvent in the next decade without concrete solutions.