Originally posted by Jason Pye at FreedomWorks.org
The federal Highway Trust Fund, after years of being raided by Congress to pay for wasteful transportation and extravagant infrastructure projects, faces a $160 billion shortfall over the next decade, which has some lawmakers from both sides of the aisle openly floating a bailout in the form of a gas tax hike.
The shortfall isn’t a problem created solely by wasteful spending, though it’s certainly a big part of the issue, as the trust fund has doled out billions for lawmakers’ pet highway and mass transit projects. A couple of other drivers that are exacerbating the problem, however, are the fact that Americans are driving less overall and the rise of fuel-efficient vehicles. Because raising the gas tax is politically unpopular, Congress routinely transfers money from the general fund to cover annual shortfalls.
Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) have been the main figures behind the push to raise the gas tax. Last year, the lawmakers proposed a 12-cent gas tax hike, phased in over two years, also indexing it to the Consumer Price Index. The plan, according to The Hill, would’ve raised tax $164 billion over the next ten years. The proposal also called for “tax relief” through the renewing so-called “tax extenders” — many of which are tax credits, and, therefore, considered to be spending in real terms — or another unspecified plan.
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