U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican leader, declared a federal gas tax increase to fund a long-term transportation bill dead at a Congressional oversight hearing Tuesday on the administration's stimulus.
Although some leading Democrats support a gas tax increase in the next surface transportation reauthorization, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who testified at Tuesday's hearing, confirmed that the administration does not support any increase in the gas tax.
At the hearing, discussion continued to center around the need to pass a six-year surface transportation reauthorization, something the Democratic majority has been unable to accomplish to date.
"Only a long-term transportation bill will truly spur employment in this country and in the construction industry, now facing an incredible 20.1 percent unemployment rate," Mica said. "Unfortunately, the Obama Administration undermined Committee Chairman Oberstar's efforts to promote a long-term reauthorization, and did not want to see a vote on a gas tax increase after passing a number of other controversial measures over the past year."
Mica, who has been a strong opponent of increasing the federal gas tax, said the next Congress will be even less inclined to come to Washington and propose a gas tax increase. "The next long-term reauthorization must consider a host of financing alternatives to help stabilize the Highway Trust Fund, which currently relies on the increasingly obsolete gas tax for funds."
METRO TV: To view video of the testimony, click here.