Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has nixed the Trump administration's idea of raising gas taxes to boost the national highway trust fund, saying now is no time to raises taxes on working Americans.
"As it stands now that is where we are at," the New York Democrat told The Daily Beast.
"Income distribution is so bad, I would rather pay for infrastructure by taking the money that comes from overseas [repatriation] and putting it into infrastructure.”
Senate Democrats early this year unveiled a $1 trillion plan to upgrade the nation's infrastructure, and Schumer has actively pursued the plan with Trump, who also made infrastructure a cornerstone platform issue in his presidential campaign. However, the question has remained about how to pay for the undertaking.
Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn suggested in October that the excise tax on gasoline, which has been sitting at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993 be raised, but some Democrats in the House said the tax Cohn proposed was insufficient and others pushed for repatriation, like Schumer.
Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, now co-chair of Building America’s Future, told The Daily Beast that a gas tax hike is necessary to pay for the infrastructure needs. By raising the tax by 10 cents a gallon, $15 billion would be raised.
"Twenty-five states in the last three years have raised their own gas tax and nobody has been thrown out of office,” said LaHood. "You know why? Because people in the states get it. They see roads and bridges being fixed and they see their tax dollars being spent in the right way.”
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