ROADS/BRIDGES: A hike in the gas tax is not the answer to trans funding, says Utah Senator

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah rallies to reach a long-term solution to pay for the Highway Trust Fund

Funding News March 27, 2015
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As lawmakers search for solutions to pay for a new transportation bill by May 31, state leaders such as Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) want to make sure that raising the federal gas tax is not the fix.
 
Lee plans to introduce an amendment to the Senate’s budget resolution that would increase the threshold for lawmakers to increase the gas tax or introduce any other new tax hikes.  Lee’s proposal would change the number of votes in the Senate to pass an increase in the gas tax from 50 to 60 votes.
 
"For decades, the American people have been stuck with the same dysfunctional transportation system — a transportation system that costs taxpayers more money every year, while failing to provide value with our nation’s highways, roads, bridges, and transit networks. In response, many offer Washington’s eternal promise: the status quo will work. ... it just needs more money,” Lee said in a statement. 
 
Transportation funding is schedule to run out of money come May 31 and according to Lee, an increased federal gas tax will not be enough money, which currently stands at 18.4 cents per gallon.  He believes that short-term fixes like this one ignore the fundamental flaws in the U.S. transportation system. 
 
The federal government, on average, spends approximately $50 billion annually on transportation projects and the current gas tax brings in roughly $34 billion per year.  Lawmakers are struggling to plug the $16 billion gap and may turn to short term fixes like a bump in the gas tax.
 
Lee has gone as far as proposing to eliminate the tax completely. The proposal calls for gradually eliminating the gas tax and transferring responsibility for transportation projects to state and local governments. 

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