National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association urges higher gas tax for Highway Trust Fund

Congress should consider raising fuel taxes and indexing them to inflation to fund the nation’s infrastructure through the Highway Trust Fund, according to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

The U.S. average fuel tax is 48.5 cents per gallon for gas and 54.5 cents per gallon for diesel and is not indexed for inflation. The last time the federal government raised the gas tax was 1993.

“Increasing the gas tax and indexing it to inflation is the one thing that makes sense,” National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association Vice President of Communications Bailey Wood said. “It’s the perfect fee: he who uses the most, pays the most.”

Association members are direct stakeholders in the road and bridge infrastructure business.

“Stone, sand and gravel sits at the heart of just about everything in this county’s road and bridge infrastructure business. There is nothing in this country that doesn’t begin with a rock,” Wood said. He said that 38,000 tons of aggregates are used in one mile of a four-lane highway.

And those highways are big business.

With monies in the Highway Trust Fund set to expire May 31 and the entire system facing insolvency by fall, Wood said Congress needs to act now.

“Seeing a highway bill passing is by far our No. 1 issue. Our infrastructure is crumbling and we need to do something sooner than later to make sure our economy continues to grow,” Wood said.

The average American pays $440 a year in extra fuel, tire wear and maintenance due to the poor conditions of the nation’s roads and bridges.

“We use our roads to get our goods around the country, and those roads have to be safe and efficient,” Wood said.

For those reasons, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association is supporting legislation recently proposed by U.S. Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL). The bill, HR 1846, is known as the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act.

The act, if passed, would index gas and diesel user fees to inflation. Additionally, the legislation calls for the creation of a bipartisan, bicameral Transportation Commission no later than Sept. 1. This group would be charged with determining a path forward for sustainable funding.

“It’s really the first piece of legislation that has co-sponsors on key committees,” Wood said, “Democrats and Republicans who sit on both the Transportation Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. We have everyone we need at the table on this legislation.”

Wood said what he likes most about the legislation is it forces Congress to find a long-term solution over a short-term fix.

“This good long-term solution will inject the necessary funds into the system,” he said. Construction projects take years to plan and then implement and once they begin you just can’t turn them on and off.”

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National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association

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