It was among the funding topics discussed yesterday during a bipartisan meeting at the White House.
President Donald Trump thinks a federal fuel tax increase of 25 cents per gallon on both gas and diesel could be a good way to generate revenue, according to a report from CNN. On Wednesday Trump had a bipartisan meeting at the White House to discuss funding options for his recently unveiled infrastructure plan, which calls for $1.5 trillion dollars. $200 billion would come from direct federal spending, with the rest coming from state and local governments.
As with all things politics, however, specific details on the proposed fuel tax vary depending on which side of the aisle is doing the talking. Speaking to CNN, Democratic Sen. Tom Carper from Delaware said the president “knew it was a difficult thing for legislators to support” and that he would “provide the political cover to do that.” Furthermore, Carper said President Trump “came back to that theme again and again,” and that he also offered strong support for increasing user fees on roads and bridges.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma was critical of Carper’s assessment, calling it “a combination of exaggeration and wishful thinking.” Inhofe told CNN that the fuel tax increase was among many options on the table and that Trump “was not advocating that. All he said was we need to do something and that is still on the table.”
That sentiment was seemingly echoed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who told reporters at the White House that a fuel tax was not ideal, but the president “has not declared anything out of bounds, so everything is on the table.”
Fuel costs are certainly a hot button in America where pickup trucks and large SUVs – vehicles not known for stellar fuel economy – reign as the predominant choices for everyday transportation. Higher fuel costs would also be felt in the trucking industry and could trickle down to increased costs for goods. States impose various fuel taxes, but at the meeting Trump pointed out the federal tax hasn’t changed since 1993.