January 2, 2008
WASHINGTON – Motorists are driving less and buying less gasoline, which means fuel taxes aren’t raising enough money to keep pace with the cost of road, bridge and transit programs.
A federal commission created by Congress to find a way to make up the growing revenue shortfall in the program that funds highway repairs and construction is talking about increasing federal gas and diesel taxes.
A roughly 50 percent increase in gasoline and diesel fuel taxes is being urged by the commission until the government devises another way for motorists to pay for using public roads.
The 15-member National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing is the second group in a year to call for increasing the current 18.4 cents a gallon federal tax on gasoline and the 24.4 cents a gallon tax on diesel. State fuel taxes vary from state to state.
In a report expected in late January, members of the infrastructure financing commission say they will urge Congress to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and the diesel tax by about 12 cents to 15 cents a gallon. At the same time, the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation.