U.S. Chamber of Commerce advocates 25-cent hike in gas tax

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pushing for a 25-cent increase in the gax tax to help pay for infrastructure. The recommendation is part of a four-point plan that includes leveraging more public and private resources; streamlining permitting; and expanding the American workforce through education and immigration reform.

A gas tax is “the simplest, fairest and most effective way to raise the money we need for roads, bridges and transit,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue. “Our political  leaders need to stop hiding behind the fallacy that this can’t be done and just go do it.” The Chamber says a gas tax increase of 5 cents a year, indexed to inflation, would generate $375 million over ten years.

Infrastructure is a stalled priority of President Trump and could be the next item on his agenda. Reuters previewed the infrastructure plan Trump is expected to introduce in his State of the Union Address to Congress on January 30. It would include $200 billion in federal funding over ten years, with the hope of leveraging more than $1 trillion in state, local and private funds.

The administration’s goal is to reduce the share of federal funding from its current level of 80 percent. Republicans back that approach, but Democrats believe the bulk of the money must come from federal funds.

A gas tax increase looks politically impossible now. But obviously any boost to the tax would have a  major effect on new-vehicle sales, which every month are more heavily skewed toward SUVs and light trucks. Another possibility would be a tax on vehicle miles traveled, which would also cover electric and hybrid vehicles.

Download Bulletin PDF