LaHood suggests 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike

(Photo: via Flickr)(Photo: via Flickr)

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has suggested raising the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon.

LaHood said this week that Congress should increase the federal gas tax, which has been 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993, to 28.4 cents per gallon, The Hill reports.

DC radio station WAMU 88.5 notes that LaHood said at an Arlington, Virginia, forum on next generation transportation systems that the highway trust fund, though “a good source of funding,” isn’t enough to cover transportation infrastructure needs.

“[The highway trust fund] can’t be the only source of funding. I believe Congress ought to raise the gas tax 10 cents a gallon and index it. If the gas tax had been indexed in 1993, we wouldn’t be having this debate,” LaHood said.

This, of course, isn’t the first mention of a gas tax increase. However, many politicians have so far been reluctant to suggest raising the gas tax, likely because about two-thirds of Americans have said they would vote against a higher gas tax.

LaHood’s focus, however, was to urge Congress to find a long-term funding option before the current funding bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, expires in September 2014.

“You [have] to have a big pot of money,” he said. “We don’t have it now. The reason Congress passed a two-year bill, MAP-21, was because they could only find $109 billion. We need a $500 or $600 billion transportation program. That will just scratch the surface.”