The Obama Administration said it will consider any proposals that Congress approves to pay for transportation, including proposals that increase the gas tax. However, the White House stopped short of endorsing a fuel tax increase and reiterated its support for corporate tax reform as the best option for fixing the Highway Trust Fund.
Responding to a question about Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bob Corker’s (R-Tenn.) proposal to raise the gas tax by 12 cents, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, "We don't believe that the best way to fund modernizing our infrastructure is to raise the gas tax. But some people do, and we're willing to consider those proposals. We believe that the best way to do that is to close those loopholes that only benefit the wealthy and well-connected corporations."
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Jan. 8 that he has "an open mind" about discussing an increase to the federal gas tax, Politico reported.
Sen. Hatch did not say he directly supports raising the tax but he said it might be the path Congress must choose to fund the highways.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) recently said passing a highway bill to pay for the nation’s infrastructure construction and maintenance is a top priority in 2015, however he ruled out a motor fuels tax increase as a means of paying for it.
“I don't think there's a will in Congress, and the American people don't want it,” Shuster said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
Despite the comments, incoming Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee John Thune (R-S.D.) said all funding options need to be on the table.
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