Carper introduces new highway bill to Senate that would raise gas tax by 16 cents

Updated Aug 21, 2015

congress building at nightSen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) has a new long-term highway bill that would raise the gas tax by 16 cents over four years.

In a release, Carper said the TRAFFIC Relief Act would not only fund America’s crumbling infrastructure but also extend the earned income and child tax credits in order to soften the blow of a nearly doubled gas tax.

The plan would raise the gas tax 4 cents per year over the next four years and would mark the first gas tax increase since 1993. Carper said it’s time for the Congress to finally take action and raise the gas tax instead of simply patching the Highway Trust Fund every few months – the 34th patch since 2008 was signed at the end of July.

“Rather than lurching from crisis to crisis, increasing country’s debt, and borrowing more money from foreign governments to pay for our transportation system, I say it’s time to do what’s right. At a time when gas prices are some of the lowest we’ve seen in recent memory, we should be willing to make the hard choice to raise the federal gas tax,” Carper said.

He also said that for 83 years, America has funded transportation through the gas tax, noting that inflation and more fuel-efficient vehicles have made the current tax an unsustainable source of funding.

The Highway Trust Fund patch will expire at the end of October and many lawmakers have been scrambling to find a long-term solution to fix America’s roads. The bipartisan DRIVE Act was picking up steam before Congress patched HTF, but while it was able to pass in the Senate, there wasn’t much House support.

However, the DRIVE Act would not raise the gas tax like Carper’s bill. But Carper said the rise is necessary.

“Funding our nation’s transportation system offers a very attractive return on investment for American taxpayers. Better roads, safer bridges, and more convenient public transit make businesses more competitive, help workers be more productive, and allow families to spend more time together,” he said.”

“In order to help build a 21st century transportation system that this country needs and deserves, I am offering a commonsense solution that solves our funding problems once and for all. By restoring the purchasing power of the gas tax, we can finally start the important work of rebuilding and expanding America’s roads, highways, bridges and transit systems.”