Transportation proposal could raise Idaho's gas tax by 25.5 cents

An analysis of federal and state data shows that transportation legislation being pushed in Congress could create a 25.5 cents-per-gallon increase in Idaho’s gas tax by 2020 in order to maintain the state's current annual investment in highway, bridge and public transportation improvements.

According to the analysis released by the Transportation Construction Coalition, on average from 2010 to 2012, Idaho relied upon federal funding for 68 percent of its annual capital investment in bridge and highway improvements.

Heritage Action is pushing the legislation, the Transportation Empowerment Act, which would lower the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents-per-gallon to 3.7 cents, and the federal diesel motor fuel tax from 24.3 cents-per-gallon to 5 cents over the next five years.

Heritage Action contends the lower federal tax rates, which would equal approximately $6 billion a year, would still be enough to rebuild and maintain the interstate highway system. However, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2013 biennial report said the annual capital investment needed to optimize the system’s condition is $35 billion.

"All this legislation would do is force drivers to pay more at the pump without delivering any improvements to the quality of safety of the roads and bridges they use," Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America and co-chair of the TCC, said. "The act may sound tempting, but ultimately it will punish drivers, increase traffic and harm our economy."

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Associated General Contractors of America

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