Oregon Representative Proposes to Raise Gas Tax

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is introducing legislation that would nearly double the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax traditionally used to pay for federal transportation projects, proposing to increase the gas tax by 15 cents to match a proposal that was included in the 2011 Simpson-Bowles budget reform recommendations. The bill is aimed at closing an approximately $20 billion shortfall in infrastructure funding that has developed as cars have grown more fuel efficient.

The legislation would result in drivers paying an extra 33.4 cents per gallon on their purchases, in addition to state taxes. The last time the federal gas tax was increased was 1993. 

The current tax of 18.4 cents per gallon brings in about $35 billion per year. The last transportation bill that was passed by Congress included approximately $54 billion in funding per year, which transportation advocates said was barely enough to cover the repair needs of the current U.S. infrastructure system. If the current gas tax were to be indexed to inflation since it was enacted in 1993, drivers would be paying about 30 cents per gallon on their gasoline purchases now.

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