July 23, 2015
Without congressional action, highway funding will come to a halt at the end of July.
America has a transportation problem. Its highways and bridges are in desperate need of repairs. Its major population centers are in desperate need of road and rail capacity to get people and products out of traffic jams. And the Highway Trust Fund — used to build and maintain those roads, bridges and transit systems — is running short of cash. Without congressional action, federally financed projects will come to a halt at the end of this month.
Unlike many problems, this one has a simple solution. The 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gasoline tax hasn’t been raised since 1993. Thanks to a worldwide oil glut, gas prices have dropped so far that Congress could quintuple the gas tax without pushing pump prices above where they were at this time last year. Merely restoring the tax to its 1993 level (a little more than 30 cents in today’s dollars) and indexing it for inflation would be a big start toward a major infrastructure upgrade. And given the volatility of prices at a pump, motorists would barely notice the 12-cent increase. Read on…