Increasing federal gasoline taxes up to 40 cents per gallon over the next five years and peak-hour “congestion pricing” on highways were two solutions recommended by the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission to help fund federal transportation programs.
Under the proposed gas tax raise, the current 18.4 cents per gallon tax would be increased by 5 cents to 8 cents annually for five years, then indexed to inflation afterward to help fix the infrastructure, expand public transit and highways, and broaden railway and rural access.
The tax, which has not been raised since 1993, could generate about $1.9 billion nationally for each one-cent increase, according to the report.
“We congratulate the majority members of the National Surface Transportation Commission for taking on its assignment and making the tough decisions to invest in the mobility of our citizens, to maintain global competitiveness of our economy and protect our quality of life,” said APTA President William Millar in a statement.
The long-awaited report, comes after nearly two years of study by a 12-member commission representing federal, state and local governments; metropolitan planning organizations; transportation-related industries; and public interest organizations.
The commission was formed by Congress in 2005 to recommend funding options and study the future needs of the nation’s surface transportation system, which includes roads, mass transit systems, ports and rail lines.
Other suggestions for creating a dedicated funding source for transportation included tolls, peak-hour congestion pricing on highways, freight fees and ticket taxes for passenger rail improvements.
Recent efforts to raise the gas tax have failed over the objections of the Bush administration, a fact that was pointed out by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and two other members of the commission that oppose gas tax increases and issued a dissenting opinion to the report that said private-sector investment and tolls would be sufficient.
To view the full report, visit www.transportationfortomorrow.org.