House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) 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.
“The President has ruled out a gas tax, 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.
Rep. Shuster added that a vehicle miles tax, which he thinks should be considered as an alternative to increasing the 18.4 cent per-gallon gas tax, also was unworkable.
The current extension of the highway bill expires in May, and discussions already are underway on Capitol Hill as to how to fund a long-term solution to infrastructure funding needs. Falling fuel prices have renewed calls for increasing the motor fuels taxes.
Rep. Shuster has said that a long-term highway bill may be paid by repatriating offshore corporate taxes or from oil exploration and production offshore on federal lands.
The current funding law, MAP-21, expired in September. Congress temporarily extended the funding law to May 31.
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