Gas tax increase out for now

By |  February 10, 2014

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said last week that a gas tax increase is no longer an option to shore up the Highway Trust Fund. Shuster had previously said he would be open to all options related to the trust fund, The Hill reports, but that the U.S. economy is not ready for an increase at this time. He also said few legislators are currently in support of such action.

Shuster made his comments during a Building America’s Future event in Washington, D.C., where former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reinforced his belief in a gas tax increase.

““Nothing is going to create the kind of money that increasing the gas tax and indexing does,” LaHood said, according to The Hill. “And then use tolling, raise TIFIA [the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act], do more TIGER [Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery] money, do all of these things. But only do it after you replenish the fund that has built America and put America back to work.”

LaHood added that a multi-year – not a two-year bill like MAP-21 – is a must this year.

“We need someone to step up and say we need a six-year bill,” he said. “We need to increase the gax tax. We need to index it. I would increase it 10 cents.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a sponsor of a bill that would increase the gas tax to more than 33 cents, weighed in on Shuster’s remarks upon hearing them.

“I’m not surprised he doesn’t like the gas tax,” Blumenauer said, according to The Hill. “I don’t like the gas tax. That’s why I would like the phased-in gas tax increase to be the last time Congress acts to raise the gas tax. But, we need something to bridge the gap until we get a sustainable fee system like VMT [Vehicle miles traveled] in place or transportation funding will come to a standstill at the end of September.”

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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