T4America Blog

News, press releases and other updates

Support the Senate’s bipartisan plan to raise the gas tax

A bipartisan pair of Senators says it's time to raise the gas tax. Let the rest of the Senate know if you agree. Take action.

A bipartisan pair of Senators says it’s time to raise the gas tax. Let the rest of the Senate know if you agree.
Take action.

After months of hearing from mayors and business leaders and citizens and people of all stripes who are worried about the looming bankruptcy of our transportation fund, a key Senate committee this week at last is taking up a temporary fix to the trust fund for the next six months. But Congress still must find a long-term solution to save our nation’s transportation fund. 

As we wrote about last week, two courageous senators have introduced a bipartisan – yes, bipartisan – proposal to save the trust fund for the long haul. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bob Corker (R-TN) proposed raising the gas tax 12 cents per gallon over two years. It would be the first increase since Bill Clinton was in office and gas cost around a buck a gallon.

Can you send a message to your Senators asking them to throw their support behind this proposal? (Supporters in CT and TN: You can send a message of support to your Senators as well.)

Without new money to save the highway trust fund from insolvency, federal contributions for important transportation projects in your community would stop as soon as August and could shut down completely for the next year.

Some in the Senate are still talking about settling for a temporary bailout, rather than face our crumbling transportation program head-on.

Over the last five years, Congress has scoured the couch cushions to find $50 billion from general revenues to plug holes in the transportation trust fund. Meanwhile, the need for investment is growing as our population grows and infrastructure ages. Not only has inflation eaten away a third of their value, but gas tax receipts also have dropped with gains in fuel efficiency and a decline in the miles driven per person.

Most members of Congress have been afraid even to mention the possibility of tax increases, but as Senator Corker said, “If it’s something worth having, then it’s something worth paying for.” We couldn’t agree more. As our recent post on support for gas tax increases at the state level shows, voters may be more accepting of higher transportation taxes than conventional wisdom suggests.

Senators Murphy and Corker deserve great credit for their leadership and courage to propose a real fix to the transportation funding crisis.

Let’s let the rest of the Senate know that safe roads and bridges, better transit, and speedier commutes are things worth paying for.

In the meantime, T4America will keep fighting for more reforms to the system to ensure that states are held accountable for their spending and that more money flows to the local level where it’s needed most. But without any new revenue, there’s no need for accountability: Projects and plans will sit on the shelf.

What do you think about raising the gas tax? Feel free to let us know in the comments.