U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reintroduced legislation last week that would raise the federal gasoline tax to bolster the highway trust fund, which finances infrastructure construction projects.
“Every credible independent report indicates that we are not meeting the demands of our stressed and decaying infrastructure system – roads, bridges and transit,” Blumenauer said in a statement the day after he unveiled the proposal. “Congress hasn’t dealt seriously with the funding issue for over 20 years and it’s time to act.”
If enacted, the Update, Promote, and Develop America’s Transportation Essentials (UPDATE) Act would phase in a 5-cent increase in the federal tax on gasoline and diesel over the next three years.
The UPDATE Act is intended to pump $210 billion into the highway trust fund during a 10-year period. The federal pool of infrastructure funding has become so depleted in recent years that the previous session of Congress transferred $65 billion from the general fund to the highway trust fund in order to keep it afloat.
Blumenauer said a “persuasive coalition” of interest groups tout the legislation, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, and advocates for the construction and trucking industries.