Associated General Contractors want gas fees indexed to inflation

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has a big stake in seeing the Highway Trust Fund injected with monies that create a long-term solution to future road, bridge and infrastructure projects across the nation.

Brian Deery, senior director of the highway and transportation division for the AGC, said annual public investment in highway infrastructure is approximately $160 billion and transit infrastructure is about $30 billion.

“Our funding advocacy efforts are an ongoing, never-ending process,” Deery said in a recent interview with TI Daily News. “Unfortunately, Congress hasn’t been doing anything long term.”

A long-term solution is what’s needed, Deery says. If the highway trust fund isn’t replenished by May 31, road, bridge and infrastructure projects at the state and national level would have to be suspended, and the fund could go insolvent by fall 2015.

That’s why the Arlington, Virginia-based AGC, with its more than 26,000 member firms, supports legislation recently proposed by Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL), known as the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act (H.R. 1846).

The act would index gas and diesel user fees to inflation. Additionally, the legislation calls for creating a bipartisan, bicameral Transportation Commission by Sept. 1, which would weigh different options for creating sustainable funding.

The average fuel tax is 48.5 cents per gallon for gas and 54.5 cents per gallon for diesel. The tax is not indexed to inflation and has not been raised since 1993.

Deery said he supports H.R. 1846 because the legislation would immediately inject desperately needed funds into the system while at the same time giving Congress time to come up with a long-term funding solution.

“Politically, raising taxes is hard,” he said. “This legislation has some hammers that would force Congress into a system to provide the necessary revenues.”

Deery thinks Congress will once again kick the can down the road and simply transfer funds from the general fund into the Highway Trust Fund, as has occurred dozens of times in the past.

“There is a push to get tax reform legislation done, and Congress wants to package highway funding with tax rewrites,” Deery said. I think there will be an extension but I’m not sure for how long.”

Organizations in this story

Associated General Contractors of America 2300 Wilson Blvd Suite 300 Arlington, VA - 22201

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