Former DOT Secretary LaHood calls for a hike in gas tax

Former DOT Secretary LaHood calls for a hike in gas tax

Former Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, speaking at a transportation forum in Arlington recently, said Congress needs to raise the federal gas tax so we can pay for infrastructure upgrades.

LaHood is not just talking about highways and bridges, which have been DOTs priorities until now, reports WAMU-FM. He said Congress needs to raise money for streetcars, high-speed rail and bike sharing programs.

The money for infrastructure has traditionally come from the Highway Trust Fund. But with the increase in fuel efficiency and the decrease in vehicle miles traveled, thats no longer sufficient, says the former DOT secretary.

The Highway Trust Fund has been a good source of funding, but it cant be the only source of funding, said LaHood, according to WAMU. He suggests that Congress raise the gas tax and index it. Indexing the tax the last time it was raised — 20 years ago — would have prevented our current shortage, he added.

Other possible sources of infrastructure funding LaHood mentioned: a tax on vehicle miles traveled, public-private partnerships and tolls for transportation.

LaHood specifically praised Virginias outside the box thinking in raising its sales tax to pay for transportation needs (see preceding article).

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