January 22, 2018
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to propose raising the federal gas tax by 25 cents per gallon to help pay for infrastructure, The Washington Post reports. The chamber estimates that the increase would raise more than $375 billion over the coming decade, which is quite a bit more than the $200 billion the White House has proposed recently.
“I’ve been pushing this for a long, long time, but now gangs of people are pushing it,” Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said in an interview, according to the news agency. He added that it would be “a tough vote” to raise the gas tax for the first time since 1993, but that support has been building in the business community and elsewhere. Donohue said he hopes that, with Trump’s support, Congress can come up with a meaningful measure to address a long-overdue priority.
“We just got a new tax bill for the first time in 31 years,” Donohue said, according to the news agency. “We’re making some significant changes in regulatory reform. We’ve got a president — everybody’s got all their own views about him and what he stands for and all that — but the guy’s getting stuff done . . . and he’s a builder. I think we can get some help here.”
In private meetings, President Trump has discussed raising the federal gas tax, but has met with some resistance from lawmakers. The administration is now leaning more toward making cuts to other programs to raise the money. Part of the funds raised would be used to reward states and localities that raise taxes or other revenue to fund infrastructure in their jurisdictions. The White House has pledged to introduce its vision of a bill before the State of the Union address.
Donohue told the news agency that the chamber plans to encourage additional private investments in infrastructure projects, including expansion of existing federal loan programs, and that the chamber shares Trump’s goal of streamlining the permitting process.