President Barack Obama should include more roads and bridges, and increased fuels taxes to pay for their construction, in the plan he unveils Wednesday night to create more jobs, says American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves.
Graves said the country needs “concrete proposals” from both Obama and Congress that do “more than pay lip service to our nation’s critical need for more jobs and better roads and bridges.” He also said it’s long past time for Congress to raise the federal fuels tax, which hasn’t been done since 1993.
“For months all we’ve heard from the president, as well as members of Congress, is ambiguous calls for ‘more infrastructure spending’ without clearly and simply explaining how much is ‘more’ and where those funds are to come from,” Graves said.
“This country needs Congress to make a decision on how to pay for our roads and bridges, and by simply expressing support for the idea of infrastructure without laying out details, the president and Congress are abdicating their responsibilities,” he said.
Graves warned against payment structures like public-private partnerships that he said don’t include “stable and reliable sources of funding.”
“Any private sector entity investing in infrastructure is going to be looking for a return on its investment and payments to the private sector will take money out of travelers’ pockets and put it into portfolios rather than pavement,” he said.
Instead, Graves urged the president and lawmakers to increase the federal tax on gas and other fuels and to plow the new billions that would be raised every year directly back into roadway construction.
“We strongly believe that policymakers should be honest about that tax’s ability to continue to fund our investment and increase it to the necessary levels,” Graves said.
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