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President Trump announced earlier this week that he would consider raising the fuel tax for the first time since 1993 to fund infrastructure improvements.
It’s no surprise that construction costs have increased over the years. With Trump promising a $1 trillion infrastructure plan coming from both taxpayer revenue and private investment, he pointed out on Monday that an increase on federal gas and diesel taxes was something he “would certainly consider…if we earmarked money toward the highways.”1
Trucking groups, such as the American Trucking Association, as well as truck drivers and members of the supply chain, ultimately stressed their support of the hike as long as long as the funds “go where they are supposed to go.” While they acknowledged that raising taxes is never a pleasant thing to hear, they justified that it is a necessity for the following reasons as well as stated provisions that need to be addressed:
- It has not been increased in line with inflation for nearly 25 years.
- Many believe that it is the most efficient way to raise money for the roads.
- There should be a requirement that the funds raised are only spent on projects related to maintaining the existing road network and expanding it rather than spending it on public transportation, beautification and hiking trails.
With vehicles becoming more fuel efficient, others argued that instead of a tax on fuel (which wouldn’t be fair because those driving hybrids would ultimately contribute less) the tax should be based on the miles driven. While many agree that this would be the better route to take, some feel that a mileage tax would result in the government “tracking” them, which would be an invasion of privacy.
Although Trump stated consideration of the hike, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer emphasized that it did not mean that the president endorsed it, only that he had an open mind and considers policies all the time.1