Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced legislation that would save the Highway Trust Fund from insolvency.
DeFazio said that HR 4848,“The Repeal and Rebuild Act,” is a long-term solution that would create American jobs, fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and finally break the transportation funding impasse that has plagued Congress for years.
“America’s economic competitiveness is at stake. While Congress hems and haws over how to deal with the dwindling Highway Trust Fund, the rest of the world is moving full-speed ahead,” DeFazio said. “I introduced a real proposal today because I’m tired of Congress being all talk and no action. It seems like every politician says creating jobs is their priority. Here’s a chance for members to do just that by investing in our nation’s infrastructure. Let’s get this done.”
The Repeal and Rebuild Act would:
- Repeal the federal gas tax (18.4 cents per gallon).
- Increase the tax on a barrel of oil that is processed into gasoline to $6.75 and index it to construction cost inflation and fleet fuel economy.
- Index the diesel tax to construction cost inflation and fleet fuel economy.
- Bond the new revenue to backfill the Highway Trust Fund shortfall.
- Support a $324 billion six-year reauthorization.
In the first year the barrel tax would raise less than the 18.4-cent gas tax, providing potential short-term relief to consumers. The barrel tax would be indexed to DOT’s National Highway Construction Cost Index and to CAFE standards to account for less fuel consumption attributed to those standards. The tax would not be applied to aviation, rail or home heating fuel.
Democrats in the House had previously sponsored a bill that would have nearlydoubled the gas tax to 33 cents per gallon, which supporters have said would be about the level it would be at if it had been indexed to inflation 21 years ago.The measure failed to gain traction because Republican leaders in the House and the Obama administration both object to raising taxes paid by drivers in the middle of an election year.