By on February 15, 2018

The United States’ 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline and 24.4-cent tax on diesel hasn’t changed since 1993. Despite this, the opinion that it should be hiked as a way of funding public works was nowhere near the White House’s official infrastructure strategy. But Donald Trump isn’t averse to the idea. In fact, he proposed a 25-cent increase to senators during a Wednesday meeting as a possible funding solution.

White House officials claim the president says “everything is on the table” in terms of finding a solution for America’s growing infrastructure problems. But how serious the rest of the Trump administration is about raising the fuel tax is debatable. 

Delaware senator Tom Carper, who attended a meeting between the president and lawmakers, told Reuters he hadn’t expected a tax hike to even be an option during Wednesday’s discussion.

“To my surprise, President Trump, today in our meeting, offered his support for raising the gas and diesel tax by 25 cents a gallon and dedicating that money to improve our roads, highways, and bridges,” Carper explained. “The president even offered to help provide the leadership necessary so that we could do something that has proven difficult in the past.”

However, Carper also said Trump repeatedly expressed concerns that it was a difficult proposal for legislators to support unanimously, and he would need to find a way to convince congress it was the right strategy.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao voiced similar concerns on Tuesday when she spoke to reporters at the White House. “The President has not declared anything out of bounds, so everything is on the table. The gas tax, like many of the other pay-fors that are being discussed, is not ideal,” she said.

“There are pros and cons. The gas tax has adverse impact, a very regressive impact, on the most vulnerable within our society; those who depend on jobs, who are hourly workers. So these are tough decisions, which is why, once again, we need to start the dialogue with the Congress, and so that we can address these issues on this very important point.”

Meanwhile, Oklahoma senator Jim Inhofe publicly condemned Carper’s characterization of the meeting, saying he had confused Trump’s openness to multiple solutions with outright support of a gas tax increase. “He was not advocating that. He was looking at all the options,” Inhofe said. “All he said was we need to do something and that is still on the table.”

The White House presented an infrastructure plan on Monday that intends to convert $200 billion in federal funding into $1.5 trillion by tapping into local and state tax dollars and private investments. Its plan does not specify how it will source the federal revenue at all. Instead, it suggests local governments and private entities find their own through tolls and user fees, which could win them federal grants needed for use on projects.

Congress also doesn’t appear to be too optimistic about passing an increase in the gas tax. While Democrats insist any infrastructure plans have to include include new revenue sources, not all of them appear willing to support a tax hike on fuel. Republicans are, on average, substantially less excited to back the idea of additional taxation, and some have already come out saying they would oppose such a proposal.

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72 Comments on “White House At Least Considering Increasing Gas Tax, Needs to Consult Congress...”


  • avatar
    IBx1

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the gas tax currently collected under the guise of infrastructure funding is allocated to everything but. There’s no way to do it with strings attached because you’re still trusting the same people with that money who will divert it to their friends, who will “donate” to their charities.

    • 0 avatar
      whitworth

      That’s my concern as well.

      I’m all for rebuilding roads with taxes collected from gasoline sales. It makes perfect sense and is “fair”. I’d even be open to an increase.

      But we all know this money will end up being used for boondoggle projects because repaving roads is just not “sexy” enough.

      Think solar powered charging stations for EV owners, monorails that never get completed and have cost over runs in the billions, and bike exchange programs. All under the guise of “infrastructure”.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      ur right

      money is fungible

      it’s like casino or lottery money being “dedicated” to education – they just budget less regular money

      remember how the critters wasted the cigarette money windfall

      let’s look at ex gov Christie’s job approval rating to see how well the NJ increase worked – a decent amount of NYers and PA residents stopped buying NJ gas so the amount raised is diluted – and they knew that because they plan to ratchet it up when the shortfall comes

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        And let’s not forget, we just gave a huge tax cut to the ultra rich (Republican Party donor base), so the only way left to fund anything new is to raise the has tax and suck more money out of the middle class and working poor.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If it goes to roads and bridges I’ll gladly pay it. US 491 was recently widened to 4 lanes from Gallup NM to Farmington NM – that is a great boon to the area.

    If you want to help Musk fund a “hyperloop” – no dice.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    If the money went exclusively to highway maintenance and construction (including bridges), fine. But let’s also put a mileage-based road use tax on EVs. Not that the money is significant at this point, but the principal of user pays, is.The federal highway trust fund (which collects these taxes) was supposed to embody that concept, but lately its been used to fund other things on the dubious theory that those things — mass transit, bike lanes — reduce traffic and thereby benefit drivers.

    Even though I’m a resident of Washington, I fail to understand why the good citizens of Kansas or Texas or anywhere other than DC-MD-VA should pay for Washington’s transit system. But they do. And it’s not like DC metro area residents are impoverished or anything.

    In fact, I fail to see why any metro area’s transit system should be funded by anyone other than local residents. Not only do they exclusively realize the benefits, as a general rule, they’re more affluent than their small town and rural cousins,

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Good point, but I doubt the idea of an increased gas tax will fly given the political leanings of the current administration and Congress, and the leanings of the people who put them in office.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I think most American citizens would support an increase in the gas tax as long as drivers of EVs, PEVs and Hybrids are punished to the same extent.

        America produces more than 10million barrels of crude every day. Our gasoline and diesel prices will be getting lower over time, so there is room for a gas tax increase.

        If that money is actiually used for roads, bridges, tunnels and/or airports? When Repugs are in charge, maybe. If the looney lefty libbies are in charge, definitely NOT!

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I think people who are informed and thoughtful might agree to a gas tax increase if a similar surcharge of some kind was placed on EVs. That’s reasonable.

          But problem is, most people can’t see past the fact that last week’s fill up cost $30 and this week’s fillup cost $45. They just think “gas has gone up under this president.” Or they focus on the impact that the increased cost has on their budget, which can be considerable if they’re poor.

          I don’t see this happening.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Maybe we’ll end up going the Oregon route:

            https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-economy/trump-signals-hes-open-to-mileage-tax-with-praise-of-oregon-program-idUSKCN1G527O

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      NY just broke all records for the cost of building a rail extension – something like 7x what it costs elsewhere – and they don’t seem to know who’s getting paid for doing what

      Most Expensive Mile
      of Subway
      Track on Earth
      How excessive staffing, little competition,
      generous contracts and archaic rules dramatically
      inflate capital costs for transit in New York.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/nyregion/new-york-subway-construction-costs.html

      And yes, gas taxes fund this.

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      DC Bruce, it’s more complicated. In the case of Metro, the federal government (as by far the largest employer in the region) certainly benefits from the ability of its workforce to get to work on time, and doesn’t contribute to the local tax base since federal buildings are exempt from property tax.

      In addition, local governments don’t have anything like the tax base available to state/provincial/federal governments.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        If getting federal workers to their jobs on time is a reason that federal taxpayers across the country should subsidize DC transit system, then big employers in every major city should be required to do the same thing . . . and spread the cost to their customers.

        Just kidding,

        As a very long time DC metro resident, and as a 20-year DC resident, I’m very familiar with the various arguments about DC finances. Here’s what Uncle Sam did for DC: In 1996 when DC government was replaced by an appointed “Financial Control Board” and mayor, its finances were restructured. The big thing that Uncle Sam (and therefore the US taxpayers) did was to assume all of DC’s employee pension liability. As you know, even in prosperous places like San Jose, pension liabilities are what are killing state and municipal finances (outside of the Sunbelt). So, that was a huge gift to DC residents. The Control Board is now history and, beginning with appointed Mayor Tony Williams and his successors, the unremarkable proposition that the function of municipal government is to provide services has taken a strong hold. Coincidentally, or not, DC is rapidly gentrifying, so the City’s revenues have been increasing steadily. DC real estate taxes are lower than in the surrounding jurisdictions; and sales and income taxes are at rough parity.

        Other than the public schools — which are not quite there — and the lack of a credible state university system, there’s no reason to choose the close in suburbs over living in the City. Real estate prices are pretty much comparable for the same quality of neighborhood.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

    1) People don’t want to pay more for gas, even if it makes sense that the increased cost will fix the roads they complain about all the time.

    2) Higher priced gas means consumers might buy less of it. Now, how much money has Big Oil put in the hands of the current ruling party?

    3) Most politicians are extremely sensitive to public disapproval. Then we have Trump, who isn’t only sensitive to it, but literally can’t handle it.

    Nope.

    People will be attracted to the plan to privatize roads until they figure out what that means for them.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Good thing all those failed solar companies that funded the previous regime got all that taxpayer money before they went out of business

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Good thing Lockheed got paid as much as it did to make a crappy jet fighter.

        Good thing Marinette Marine got paid to make a Navy ship that breaks down like a freakin’ Yugo.

        Good thing all those contractors are going to make about three times what they should have to build a VA hospital in Denver.

        It’s easy to gore someone else’s sacred cow.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Agreed, personally until there are investigations and prosecutions for such massive frauds nothing will ever change.

          Who went to jail for 2008? …

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Right on target, 28.

            Know what’s interesting? After Bernie Ebbers went inside for 25 years over cooking the books, have you seen any companies doing any WorldCom/Enron/Tyco s**t? I haven’t. Moral of the story? If you want to scare CEOs out of pulling an Ebbers, put Ebbers in jail for 25 years.

            Meanwhile, the banks nuke the world economy, no one does time over it, and very little has changed.

            Tells me one thing: the banks greased the government’s palms a lot better than the tech guys did.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            I don’t think that it’s more grease from the banks as much as it was the fact that the financial tools responsible for the crash weren’t technically illegal thanks to the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which took all manner of financial instruments out of the purview of regulators. All of the credit default swaps and synthetic collateralized debt obligations were dangerously opaque but not criminal. Ebbers and Lay didn’t have that protection for what they did. Return regulatory control over financial instruments to the Feds (fat chance) and some bankers might get perp walked.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        I remember when the Kenyan visited Solyndra. After he left, Air Force One hadn’t even taken off and they were putting plywood over the windows, lol. What a screwin’ the taxpayers got over those “shovel ready” jobs. They needed to shovel something, all right.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>3) Most politicians are extremely sensitive to public disapproval. Then we have Trump, who isn’t only sensitive to it, but literally can’t handle it.<<

      180 degrees wrong – Trump revels in it

      BO couldn't handle it. BO had 90% pos coverage and Trump has had 90% neg – and yet Trump is more popular than BO was at the same time in his regime

      Remember, BO took a ridiculous Nobel peace prize because he was an empty chair – BO was nominated less than too weeks after he took office – the Nobel committee knew BO was a narcissist.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Wrong.

        The guy can’t handle dissent to begin with when it’s from people who don’t support him. Imagine how it goes down when the anti-tax torch ‘n pitchfork brigade – i.e., Trump’s core constituency – gets hacked at him. He’ll turn on them too. Like you say…he enjoys pissing people off. Then he’ll turn to a new set of people and make them adore him.

        This is how narcissistic creeps operate – they spend their whole lives in search of approval, and anyone who ain’t 150% behind them is a mortal enemy.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Right, just like when Trump said, on TV, that if a bi-partisan immigration proposal was brought to him he would back it and take the heat. Because that’s just the sort of guy that he is. How’d that work out? Same thing with a hike in the gas tax, he’ll be for it until he’s against it.

    • 0 avatar
      210delray

      I agree with you on “Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.”

      Ditto on your points 1 and 3 but not on 2: Demand for gasoline is rather inelastic; higher prices may cause some to cut back on discretionary driving or eventually switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles, but the net effect will be small barring a major recession.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Some of the money will end up in pork projects. You fill your tank and the money goes toward new carpet for the Visitor Center at the Ball of String Museum in Asscrack Pass, Nebraska.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Or Navy ships that break down, or Air Force planes that won’t fly the way they were supposed to, or VA hospitals in Denver that end up costing three times as much as they should…

  • avatar
    jkross22

    You’d have to be a rube to believe an increase in the gas tax will mean that money is earmarked exclusively for road repair and construction.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/states-siphon-gas-tax-for-other-uses-1405558382

    https://blog.mass.gov/transportation/uncategorized/current-gas-tax-where-does-it-go/
    Funny how there’s no definition of ‘transportation purposes’, eh?

    https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/library/doclib/tribal-gas-tax-pb_0.pdf

    The majority of us would support an increase in the gas tax if the money was used for road repair, but unfortunately trusting government to follow through with that commitment is foolish thinking.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Mass transit gets 16% of federal fuel tax revenues and accounts for 2% of all trips (5% of commuting) nationally. Biking accounts for 1% of all commuting trips but bike trails and other non-road landscaping projects get about 4% of federal gasoline tax revenues. Federal labor (Davis-Bacon) and environmental regulations increase transportation infrastructure building costs by at least 30%, but even with these wasteful regulations, the highway trust fund would be 98% solvent if the money raised from fuel taxes was 100% used on road building and maintenance. If the fuel tax is raised, 100% of the added revenue needs to be used on roads and the deal should also include rollbacks on Davis-Bacon and other wasteful regulations – otherwise the money will just be wasted.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      In Boston, weekday trips on public transportation averaged 1.28 million trips a day. I’ve seen figures that place public transit usage at 30%+ for the Boston Area. So, exactly how much is it going to cost for road building to accommodate all of those extra cars? Where do we park them?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._cities_with_high_transit_ridership

      The reality is that you’re dead wrong about the Highway Trust Fund being 98% solvent if fuel taxes were used 100% on roads. Take away public transit and you’ll get a massive increase in demand for funds for building new roads to compensate.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Boston is one of a handful of congested central core cities where mass transit works only because there’s no parking and the costs of owning and keeping a car is more than subsidized public transit.

        You have a point, but places like Boston and New York are the worst possible examples. Pretty much everyplace west of the Mississippi, or south of the Mason Dixon Line are too spread out for mass transit to work. And even where it does work, there are subsidies from other tax sources supporting them, or they don’t work there either.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Since we’re talking about capital projects, the question isn’t what mode share is today, it’s what mode share growth we need.

      Almost all economic growth in the US is being driven by large metros at the moment. Some of them are already heavily transit-dependent (New York, DC) while some are currently more road-dependent (Houston, LA). But even the road-dependent ones really don’t have room to expand roads further. Continued growth in these big metros has to come from other modes. Some of that means transit, while some means building more housing close to where people work so they can commute by foot or bike.

      As an example, Seattle (currently the nation’s fastest-growing city) just released a report showing that more than 100 percent of commute growth into the central city over the last year was absorbed by transit, rideshare, walking, and biking. There is no room for new roads in the city even if you had money to build them, so people in new jobs have to find another way.

      https://commuteseattle.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2017-Commuter-Mode-Split-Survey-Report.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Mass transit mode share has been declining in most of the US for decades. The inconvenience and/or low quality of most mass-transit systems have caused more people to telecommute than take mass-transit nationally. Leftist city planners and environmentalists have been trying their best to get people out of cars for years with heavy fuel taxes (especially outside the USA), heavy road tolls (including peak hour surcharges), taking away street parking in urban areas, and most of all not building or expanding roads, and yet approximately 95% of all commuting is still done by car. Perhaps the fuel taxes that motorists actually pay should be going to support the transport mode that virtually everyone actually prefers.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Where do you plan to “build or expand roads” in Manhattan or downtown Los Angeles? Answer must not assume hundreds of millions per mile in property buyouts.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Indeed, dal…or Denver, for that matter.

            A lot of growth is happening in cities like Denver, or Dallas, or Houston, whose highway systems were designed for far smaller populations.

            Here in Denver, we have a basic highway system layout dating from the ’50s, when maybe 750,000 people lived here. It cost a billion and a half to widen and improve I-25 through the southern half of the metro, and that was ten years ago, before real estate prices here really took off. You could put an entire NFL team on Mars – and build them a stadium to play in – for what it’d cost to build a truly sufficient freeway system for a city that will have four million people before too long.

            Choices in these cities are limited, and boil down to: a) more density, or b) more transit.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        I’m not sure how you draw the conclusion that the growth of the last year has more than been absorbed by transit. The bulk of the study compares 2017 to 2010 but when you look at the small portion that includes 2016 you’ll see that the percentage of CTR affected employees that take transit is down, and it is down significantly overall compared to 2010. The non CTR affected employee transit use is up significantly but that is such a small portion of the overall numbers that it boarders on being irrelevant, yet it is given significant weight in many of the areas to give the desired result of the study.

        “Continued growth in these big metros has to come from other modes. Some of that means transit, while some means building more housing close to where people work so they can commute by foot or bike.”

        No attempting to build more housing close to where people work is the exact opposite of what needs to be done when the infrastructure does not exist to support it and there is no way to improve the infrastructure to be able to support it. Building offices close to where people actually live, want to/can afford to live is the way out of the problem.

        Things are only getting worse in Seattle and will continue to do so as they try to build their way out of the problem which actually makes it worse rather than better.

        Look at the rubble that used to be the Promenade at 23rd and Jackson. Sure they are going to have a number of so called affordable units, however fact is that while there may be some below median income people that can afford to rent an apt there they won’t be able to afford to actually live there because there will be no affordable services for them near by.

        Sure they are including spaces for small businesses, but I guarantee you that the few who do try to eek out a living in those over priced spaces will not last long, unless they are overpriced boutiques catering to the rich residents. You just have to look up 23rd to see there are no takers for the small business space at 23rd and Madison. The people who had shopped for their Pig’s feet or got their hair cut at the Promenade will find the shelves of the grocery store lined with expensive “fair trade” and “organically grown” stuff they can’t afford or simply don’t want and the price of a hair cut to be at least quadruple what it had been in the past.

        Seattle is a mess and it is only getting worse. Of course the root of the problem is the Seattle leadership who are only concerned with getting that building permit money and the thoughts of an increased property tax base.

        Fact is it was the city of Seattle that played a huge hand in making it unprofitable to build condos in our state. They wouldn’t hire inspectors to be able to actually properly inspect the projects they were getting huge permit fees from. The few they did have were either incompetent, too lazy to check anything not on the first floor, or just too overworked to check more than one or two of the hundreds of units. So subs knew they could violate rules right and left w/o any recourse and the developers were left holding the bag.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “The non CTR affected employee transit use is up significantly but that is such a small portion of the overall numbers that it boarders on being irrelevant”

          Not sure why you’re drawing that conclusion. The headline of the study is that, among all central city workers regardless of CTR status, a combination of transit, rideshare, and walking took 4%-5% modeshare away from SOVs just from 2016 to 2017, with a net decrease in raw SOV trips. The CTR pool by itself is distorted by the rise of Amazon and SLU. In 2010, the CTR pool was much more centered around the core of downtown (where transit is best) than it is today.

          “No attempting to build more housing close to where people work is the exact opposite of what needs to be done when the infrastructure does not exist to support it and there is no way to improve the infrastructure to be able to support it.”

          The only way this is true is if you assume that everyone has to drive. Otherwise there is more than adequate infrastructure to support more housing in central Seattle. There’s plenty of power, water, and sewer capacity (with expensive projects completed over the last few years to add more of all three), several new schools are coming online in the next few years, and we’re adding transit capacity like crazy between Seattle Prop 1 and ST3.

          “Building offices close to where people actually live, want to/can afford to live is the way out of the problem.”

          How did that work out for Weyerhaeuser and Microsoft? Weyerhaeuser could no longer recruit people to its Federal Way headquarters (near some of the cheapest housing in the greater Seattle area), and moved the whole operation to Pioneer Square for recruitment reasons. Microsoft moved significant parts of its operation to downtown Bellevue, closed down its Issaquah operation, and is furiously pushing the City of Redmond to allow more housing near its main Overlake campus.

          Expertise concentrates in central cities for very good reasons. It’s hard to create a vibrant industry environment where anyone switching jobs is signing themselves up for an extra 2 hours of commuting a day.

          “they won’t be able to afford to actually live there because there will be no affordable services for them near by.”

          This is a temporary problem. Over time, the new commercial spaces will come down in price. Check out some of the vendors who are now occupying spaces along Broadway and 12th Avenue, in buildings where the landlords really would have preferred a Chase Bank but there weren’t enough to go around.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Weyerhouser did not move to Seattle because they couldn’t recruit new talent to their Federal Way facility. In fact the move to Seattle was due in part to the shrinking size of their workforce at the HQ level. Many of their employees are quite unhapppy with the move and they fact that they are now forced to commute to Seattle on transit because there is no parking at their new campus.

            Microsoft is building constantly at their Redmond campus and the only reason that they had offices elsewhere is because the construction was not keeping up with their hiring. They did not move to Seattle because they know that will turn off a lot of their employees.

            Then you have Google, yes they have some people in Seattle but they have also added offices in Bothell and are choosing to expand their Kirkland campus rather than Seattle.

            I know many people who work for Amazon in Seattle and each and every one of those people live on the Eastside or in South King county with no desire to live in Seattle despite the fact that they could afford to do so. Of all of those people I do know one that actually moved out of Seattle for the suburbs because living in Belltown was not everything they thought it would be. I do know one person who is considering getting a small studio Condo down town and that is not because they want to actually live down town, it is because they want to live in Bellingham and that commute is just too brutal. So last summer I found them their new main house up there and will be helping them find a studio condo near Amazon for the few years left until they retire and then they will sell their suburban home. Well before Amazon publicly announced that they wanted to build a new second HQ he knew about it and was lobbying like many others for it to be on the East side if it was to be in any part of our state. They are going else where because they are finding it is increasingly difficult to attract new hires to downtown Seattle. They have to keep upping the hiring bonuses to get the people they want and they are finding that just is a good long term strategy.

            The desire to be near the talent pool is why Google is expanding in Kirkland and why you want people to commit to your company. They are finding out that this chasing people from other companies is a dead end. Give them a signing bonus to lure them away from a perceived competitor and then have them go away in less than 2 years is not sustainable.

            An no the stupid ground floor retail problem in these massive residential complexes that are going up will not correct itself. Those spaces will be permanently vacant and under capacity. As long as the city forces it on developers it will just increase the cost of housing even more as they have to compensate for that waste of space and resources.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Spending billions to move or expand facilities seems like a waste instead of simply developing jobs for the 100% remote worker model.

        • 0 avatar
          Stevo

          Hmmm. Scoutdude, as someone who has lived in Seattle or the Eastside since 1970 (about half and half) I say that Seattle is doing things right. Traffic has always been messy in parts (Mercer) but adding density (not adding enough missing middle housing though) and creating travel options is going to pay off. People are what add value, not moving cars around or especially storing them downtown. And more than 5700 new housing units were built in downtown alone last year. That is where most people work.

        • 0 avatar
          Stevo

          Scout, Traffic is worse everywhere because there are about 600K more people in the county now than 30 years ago. Google is building two new buildings in SLU so they seem OK with Seattle. Have you driven in Houghton at 5pm trying to get on 405 North? Worse than Mercer. All the traffic with none of the amenities.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Great post. Perhaps I am too much the cynic, but I believe you predicted the outcome in your last six words.

  • avatar
    vww12

    From the gas tax:

    1. 16% is taken off the top and given to Mass Transit
    2. From the remainder, 25% is “Flexed” to Transit and STP and CMAQ (non-highway)

    In summary, 37% of the tax does not go to highways [16% + (84%*25%)]

    Only 63% of the tax goes to highways.

    Look at it this way: if you had 63 cents, and someone exchanged your 63 cents for $1, you would have a 58% increase.

    So, if the taxes were not wasted on non-highway things, you could have a 58% increase on road spending overnight, without any increase in taxation.

    Source: Federal Transit Administration. Here are the slides created by the U.S. Dept of Transportation:
    http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l380/vww12/a-fifth-of-gasoline-taxes-subsidy-t.jpg
    http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l380/vww12/funds-diverted-from-roads-highways.jpg

    Note: STP and CMAQ do things like replacing the diesel engines of city buses (over, and over, and over, for decades), and building bike paths through forests.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Dysfunctional government. The main reason we are in such a political turmoil. No matter which party, you vote for A and get BCD and E, and if you were really lucky, a tiny bit of A.

  • avatar
    Prado

    It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to continue or even go further down the path of ‘gas taxes’ for road maintenance, when we as a society are transiting away from gas as the energy source of our cars, even if that transition is still in its infancy. New ideas are needed that are not fuel specific.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Prado, we ALL, including the US gov’t, have to deal with the ‘here and now’ of the present.

      And that includes repairing/maintaining/expanding our existing infrastructure to match the need of today’s society in which we each function.

      Gas/diesel/kerosene and oil byproducts will still be with us for hundreds of years into the future, even if other energy sources are developed for our vehicles alongside of oil and natgas.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Prado,
      The world is using more “gas” then ever before.

  • avatar
    manu06

    Money and tax revenue is indeed fungible.
    How about raising consumption taxes and raising the
    standard deduction by an equivalent amount ?
    Basically rewarding work and discouraging waste.

  • avatar
    jmo

    From what I understand a lot of the truck ruts, wear and tear, congestion etc. around NYC are because there is not freight rail link through Manhattan so everything has to be sent by truck. If a freight tunnel, and lets assume this is the case, was the cheapest way to improve I-95, why shouldn’t the gas tax money be used for the train tunnel?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      jmo,
      Do you know over a couple of million people live on Manhattan alone? How do you propose a vast marshalling yard be setup to manage all of this freight?

      It’s not as easy as you think.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    God yes please, take my money! Make it a cool dollar per gallon. Hopefully will stem the flow of trucks and SUV’s in the process. The hilarious thing is just think how many gallons of gas you actually buy over the course of the year. Even at 25 cents, it adds up in a two vehicle home. I don’t think it will happen anytime soon though because the tax cut that the Republicans just passed will essentially be wiped out for median income families just by this act alone. But, rest assure assured, corporations and pass through entities can just pass the cost along to the consumer for another indirect tax on median and low income households, who lets face it, were never meant to benefit from the tax cut to begin with lol.

    This would give Trump opponents perfect ammunition to trash what is Trump’s only real achievement in office. “Tax cut…what tax cut? You just took it back from most American families in the form of a gas tax.”

  • avatar
    TW5

    Personally, I’m willing to pay much higher gasoline tax to fund roads, but it isn’t about me. It’s about government.

    We do not lack funds to build or maintain roads. The funds we need for infrastructure have been pilfered to pay for other programs (mainly entitlements) which provide little or no benefit to society as a whole. Raising gasoline taxes will not prevent DoT and highway funds from being looted or misappropriated. We will merely find ourselves at this juncture again in the future, and tax increases will be sold to the public under the false pretense that the things we want cost more than we realize.

    Furthermore, the purpose of raising gasoline tax is to allow the nefarious money-laundering grifters to make cost-of-living-adjustments to the other 60% of the federal budget. We’ll raise gasoline tax to get an extra $20B, but Congress will spend $100B to offset the impact of higher taxes on poor people.

    Federal excise tax on fuel needs to be eliminated. It hurts the poor, creates irrational preferences for non-petroleum fuels, creates irrational preferences to pollute at the powerplant rather than the roadway, it creates social friction between drivers of various types of vehicles, it discourages fuel efficiency regulation at the federal level, etc. etc. etc.

    Stop insulting us. Get rid of federal fuels excise.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      TW5,
      Doesn’t the US have Federal, State, County/City domains regarding the responsibility for transport infrastructure?

      So, I don’t think as many do it is all the Federal governments fault the condition of the US road system.

      I’m not defending the Federal government, but at all levels transport infrastructure needs addressing in the US. Even your airport terminals aren’t that great.

      Rail is not that great. The US stop investing enough in infrastructure for a few decades now, since Reagan’s time. This is because the voting public wanted a smaller and leaner government.

      I read here with surprise and think the whiners (Trumplike people) need to look closer at what infrastructure the government supports or subsidises, ie water, sewrage, electricity, roads, airports, ports, telecommunications, levees/dams, etc.

      The governments (all levels) really do use a lot of money to maintain existing infrastructure. If any one of those systems drop out the US or any country is fncked. I think people need to sit back and look at what they have and stop whining.

      I think an additional fuel tax with the removal of CAFE is the best move all round.

    • 0 avatar
      vww12

      Exactly right. Ditch the tax.

  • avatar
    turf3

    The White House does not “need to consult Congress”. The Executive branch can only recommend legislation. Changes to taxation require legislation, which can only be passed by an act of Congress. Remember “taxation without representation”?

    The Executive cannot on their own raise taxes, whether with or without “consultation with Congress”.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Here in PA, where we enjoy the highest gas tax in the entire country, a 25 cent increase would push our PER GALLON tax to $1.017.

    As I’ve said before, gas taxes should be replaced with a tax which covers all vehicles, including EVs and heavy trucks:

    Tax = GVWR x annual miles

    But the greatest reason we’ll never dispense with the gas tax: automatic taxes like gas tax, payroll taxes, and sales taxes tend to “boil the frog” so that nobody notices them.

    If people had to write a check for gas taxes every time they filled up, there would be torches and pitchforks at every state capitol. In my case, I’d be writing a tax check for $15 just to fill my minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Exactly, SCE.

      And a) how many economically marginized blue collar folks live in Pennsylvania, and b) what margin did Trump carry that state by in 2016?

      Thus, the answer to why gas taxes won’t go up under this administration. If the Republicans want to flip Pennsylvania (and Michigan, and Wisconsin, and so on), they can’t p*ss off the folks who would be affected by a gas tax.

      My prediction is that we get hoodwinked into selling off our infrastructure to private interests. That way, conservative politicians can say “we didn’t raise your taxes.” Hey, what do they care? They can afford Lexus lanes just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      >>> Here in PA, where we enjoy the highest gas tax in the entire country <<<

      I wish for PA prices.

      Average regular, mid-grade, premium, and diesel prices from gasprices.aaa.com:

      California: $3.33, $3.48, $3.59, and $3.68
      Pennsylvania: $2.84, $3.11, $3.37, and $3.45

      The California "premium" at $3.59 doesn't look so much worse than Pennsylvania, but note that our so-called "premium" is 91 octane, not 93. Try mixing in 1/3 race fuel to boost the octane to 93 and you'll be a $7 or $8.

      You'll also get hit with about a 9% sales tax when you buy your car or import it from out of state. There's also yearly registration, but that's relatively minor.

      Hawaii is even more than California, but at least there you don't have to drive all that much.

      >>> Tax = GVWR x annual miles <<<
      That would work for me! Light weight and low miles. My commute is only 5 miles — unfortunately, it often takes more than 30 minutes.

      Personally, I'd like to see congestion pricing, where you are charged GVWR x miles x factor. The factor depends on the congestion at the time. Unfortunately, this would probably require GPS tracking, so that's kind of a no-go.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Mileage-based taxes require, at the very least, odometer logging which increases regulatory costs substantially. Furthermore, it sends the wrong message. Driving is the source of prosperity and economic activity. We don’t want people to drive less. In fact, we enact regulations like CAFE so Jevon’s paradox will increase miles driven to offset the loss of economic activity from lower fuel sales.

      The other major issue is that GVWR formulas don’t reflect reality. Yes, the heavier the vehicle, the more damage is does to the road, but most surfaces can handle light trucks without any problem. Virtually all damage is caused by heavy trucks, snow removal and ground heave. I’m not really sure those can be captured in a GVWR tax, unless we are going to shift substantially all of the tax onto trucking companies……….who are only passing through the state.

      Levying tax is difficult, but roads are such an integral part of the economy as a whole, it’s probably in our best interest to abandon taxes that have any use-based component.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I love this debate and enjoy reading the comments. I too would support an increase if the funds would be allocated to roads. I wonder if there was a way to raise the tax with language written into the bill that guarantees the increase can *only* be used for repair or replacement of existing infrastructure. Basically put a lid on the spending of the dollars on anything but roads and bridges that already exist and are in need of repair or replacement. I am certain that new highways and bridges to nowhere need to be built, but it would be nice if we could get the ones that we already built to somewhere up to a safe standard.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      How about if the increase in tax was also accompanied by canceling CAFE, gas guzzler tax, and ethanol mandate.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I am probably the leftiest person commenting here and I would wholeheartedly support abolition of CAFE and gas guzzler tax in exchange for a hefty (~$1.50/gal) increase in the gas tax and indexing it to inflation. CAFE only exists because lawmakers were too scared to raise the gas tax. It’s a chickensh!t, complicated, indirect way to do what the gas tax does simply and directly.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “Simply”, “directly” and less “complicated”, doesn’t mean that way is better than the alternative, and that definitely doesn’t keep it from being chickensh!t.

          Just having a full range of choices is one HUGE thing separating us from Europe. Yeah I don’t want an tiny electric car, or even a Prius, but I have the choice. And there’s plenty of folks opting for both a gas sipper for everyday and the gas guzzler SUV or mid/full size pickup gathering dust until the weekend/afterhours/holiday.

          Better yet, look and the man-made disaster Europe has become, forcing everyone except elitists into tiny diesel hatchbacks.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Um, DiM, I do believe the EU has larger choice of vehicles.

            Plus, you can grey import.

            This notion you have regarding the US vehicle market is inaccurate.

            As always research prior to spruiking nonsense.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          dal20402,
          I agree with you in removing CAFE and using fuel taxation as the instrument to maintain fuel efficiency.

          The upside to the removal of CAFE is the manufacturers could build whatever they want.

          I think it’s ridiculous using CAFE because why not have a V6 the size of a Corolla if you want returning the same FE as a medium car.

          It not about the size of the car, its about how much fuel is burnt in the US overall.

          Next thing to remove is the Chicken tax so there is a larger influx of smaller more FE pickups and creating competition so full size pickup prices are lowered.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – The removal of CAFE would be good, or better yet keep current 2018 CAFE levels until the wheels fall off. I don’t understand the “all or nothing” mentality.

            Midsize pickup “fuel economy” in disappointing at best. The main reason for buying a midsize pickup is for their slightly smaller, over all size, if that’s what you’re needing.

            But it’s curious where you’re figuring a price reduction of fullsize pickups simply for having more midsize “competition”. Fullsizers are still a tremendous value, especially if you can restrain yourself from packing on the luxo options, never mind “resale” value. But since the strong selling, GM midsize twins came back, guess how much cheaper fullsize pickups became?

            Hint: They didn’t. Or maybe you’re thinking a Chinese and or Indian pickup would do the trick?

            Either way, Chicken tax or no, I doubt many of the missing brands of pickups could survive the tough US market. As if no one cares about resale value, but something you’re obviously not familiar with in OZ (or SE Asia, Africa etc.) is US Consumer Protection Acts, including “Lemon Laws”. This is the biggest hurdle global manufacturers face when considering the US market. It would mean absolute doom for most of them.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Its a good idea to use fuel tax to maintain the push toward more economical vehicles and hopefully the money does go towards improving and developing transport infrastructure.

    Trump and the GOP will need to get money from somewhere with their tax cuts the US to maintain it’s current rate of expenditure will need to find money from somewhere.

    So, maybe the tax increase will offset the rich and famous 1% tax cut they will be getting.

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