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December 13
​Gas Tax Increase Proposed in House

Last week, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (R-Ore.) introduced legislation aimed at raising more revenue for the Highway Trust Fund. Rep. Blumenauer’s bill, the Update, Promote and Develop America’s Transportation Essentials Act (UPDATE Act) (H.R. 3636) would phase in a 15-cent-per-gallon federal gas/diesel tax increase over three years. This increase would raise the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents to 33.4 cents per gallon, providing more revenue for the Highway Trust Fund. The UPDATE Act also proposes indexing the gas tax for inflation.

The Highway Trust Fund collects revenues derived mostly from excise taxes on gasoline and other motor fuels, which is then used to fund the federal highway and transit programs. Since 2008, the trust fund has faced growing shortfalls that have been avoided by transfers from the general fund of the Treasury. During the last surface transportation authorization bill known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Congress considered proposals to address the solvency of the trust fund but ended up skirting the problem by relying on $18.8 billion in general fund transfers.

In their most recent annual report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a cumulative GPA of a D+ and identified necessary transportation investments, including $76 billion for deficient bridges, $170 billion for road infrastructure, and funding for public transit infrastructure.

Despite the growing transportation needs across the country and the trust fund’s funding shortfalls, the gas tax has not been raised since 1993. The UPDATE Act would address the Highway Trust Fund’s solvency and provide more funding for federal surface transportation programs, including the federal highway and transit dollars that counties use to build and maintain roads and bridges, and provide transit services.

NACo supports increasing the federal gas tax and indexing it to inflation to address the outstanding surface transportation needs plaguing our nation’s counties. 

Contact: Jessica Monahan at jmonahan@naco.org or 202.942.4217

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