Ready to pay even more at the pump? Thanks to two senators you soon might be. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (D) and Tennessee’s Bob Corker (R) unveiled a bipartisan-supported plan yesterday to raise federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time in more than two decades. Why on earth would they do this? The proposal is being passed off as a solution to Congress' struggle to pay for highway and transit programs.
The plan offered by raise the current 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4 cents-a-gallon diesel tax each by 12-cents over the next two years, and then index the taxes to keep pace with inflation. The increase would be applied in two increments of 6 cents each. The plan does call for offsetting the tax increases with other tax cuts, but let’s face it, when’s the last time you remember a big tax hike being reversed?
The plan was immediately embraced by industry and transportation advocacy groups who have been looking for a long-term method to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent. However, it would require a lot of heavy lifting from Congress in the election year atmosphere. While some would want to keep the fund solvent, there’s also the fact that elected officials might be itchy about increasing taxes on the Americans who remember when $5 was “gas money.” Would the person who increased your taxes get your vote?