In an effort to help pay for transportation projects across America, GOP Rep. Tom Rice has introduced new legislation which will increase the federal gas tax by 10 cents-per-gallon, The Hill is reporting.
"Our measure moves money from the general fund into the Highway Trust Fund. It would raise the gas tax by about 10 cents-per-gallon, which would cost the average driver about $130 per year," the South Carolina lawmaker said.
He added that move "would be offset by a $133 income tax credit, so it's revenue-neutral," according to The Hill.
While the federal government already spends $50 billion per year on transportation funding, gas taxes — which have been the main source of transportation funding for decades — only generate about $34 billion annually, The Hill said. The federal gas tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon, a rate that was set in 1993.
With a July 31 deadline quickly approaching on the current spending bill, The Hill notes that Congress has been facing a transportation funding shortage since 2005.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, in addition to the current gas taxes revenue, a six-year transportation funding bill will cost an estimated $100 billion, The Hill reports.
As Republican leaders in Congress have rejected an increase in gas taxes, it is important that an agreement is reached in the coming weeks, otherwise putting the Highway Trust Fund in danger of losing all its money by the end of the month, the Department of Transportation noted.
"I hope we don't have to have any more short-term extensions," Rice said, according to The Hill. "I think it's very harmful to our country. Infrastructure is vital to our economy and it's vital to our competitiveness."
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