Ports-to-Plains Investors










Ports-to-Plains Alliance

Entries in Fuel Tax (15)


Americans Say They Back Higher Gas Tax to Fix Crumbling Roads


July 21, 2017

Congress hasn’t raised the federal gas tax since 1993 when Bill Clinton was president, but a narrow majority of Americans would support an increase to help fix crumbling roads and bridges in their own states.

Fifty-five percent of Americans in a Bloomberg National Poll say they would back an increase. The concept has bipartisan support, with majorities of Republicans (51 percent) and Democrats (67 percent) backing the idea.

Americans are tired of the condition of their roads and interstate highways and the 56,000 structurally deficient bridges nationwide, said Ray LaHood, a Republican and former U.S. transportation secretary under President Barack Obama who supports raising the gas tax.
“People are fed up,” LaHood said. “They’re ready for politicians to take action."

Read on...


Infrastructure Triage: Fix the Bottlenecks

Real Clear Policy

May 23, 2017

Our nation’s economy relies on the continuous and efficient movement of goods and people, but the current condition of our nation’s infrastructure puts that at risk. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a D+ on its 2017 report card. Among the recipients of the lowest marks were the nation’s highways, which the report described as “often crowded, frequently in poor condition, chronically underfunded, and are becoming more dangerous.”

For decades, we have relied on the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded primarily by the federal fuel tax, to help repair and maintain our nation’s roads and bridges. But the federal fuel tax has remained flat since 1993 and has been unable to keep pace with demands. By 2020, the Highway Trust Fund — originally intended to be a sustainable revenue source financed by users of the system — will be insolvent. And despite attempts to make up the shortfall, the fund is running on fumes today.


Those who spend the most time on the road are pleading to pay more for gas. Here’s why.


February 22, 2017

WASHINGTON- As President Donald Trump and lawmakers in both parties roll out massive infrastructure plans, no one seems to be willing to consider the hottest, most vexing piece of that legislative puzzle: raising the federal gasoline tax.

Suddenly, the effort has an important new ally: the nation’s railroads.

Motorists and truckers pay the same 18.4 cents and 24.4 cents a gallon, respectively, they did when Bill Clinton was president from 1993 to 2001. But those pennies don’t buy what they did in 1993.

The tax was enough to pay for the federal share of building and maintaining the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems. But every year since 2008, when the shortfalls started, lawmakers have punted on higher taxes. Instead, they’ve transferring ever larger amounts of general revenues into the Highway Trust Fund to keep it running.

As of last year, Congress had poured $143 billion into the fund’s depleted coffers since the shortfalls began.

Read on...


Poll: Most Americans back 10-cent gas tax hike

Getty ImagesThe Hill

September 1, 2015

Seventy-one percent of U.S. residents would support a 10-cent increase in the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax that is used to pay for federal transportation projects, according to a new poll released this week.

The survey, conducted by the San Jose, Calif.-based Mineta Transportation Institute, comes as lawmakers are facing an Oct. 29 deadline for renewing federal infrastructure spending that has been the subject of debate in Washington for most of the year.

Support for increasing the gas tax to 28 cents-per-gallon drops to 31 percent if the money is used to "maintain and improve the transportation system" instead of "improve road maintenance," according to the group.

The group behind the study said "the survey results show that a majority of Americans would support higher taxes for transportation—under certain conditions."   Read on…


Editorial from USA Today: Raise the gas tax already: Our view

USA Today

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...


The gas tax is over

Survey: POLITICO’s transportation experts think we’ll pay for roads with a mileage scheme. They’re tired of “photo ops and gimmicks” instead of policy. And they like to walk.

As Congress continues divided about funding transportation reauthorization, what are others saying. Politico gathered transportation experts for just such a discussion.

What do you think?

Our roster of transportation leaders included current and former members of Congress; officials from big players like the AFL-CIO, the Chamber of Commerce, and the American Trucking Association; experts from a range of universities and think tanks; an executive from one of the nation’s largest roadbuilders; and even former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, surely the only respondent with an airport named after him.

As the House and Senate squabble over a way to pay for road projects and avoid the looming “highway cliff” this week, America’s transportation experts think it’s high time for Washington to take up a much bigger challenge: Rebuilding our national transportation strategy from the ground up, and finding a smart new source of money to pay for it.

With transportation-funding crises now a regular event on the Washington calendar, and Congress seemingly unable to come up with a long-term solution, The Agenda turned to a carefully selected list of more nearly three dozen leaders and experts across the public and private spheres to ask whether there was a better way for the nation to handle its crucial roads, rail, and other infrastructure.

Nearly 90 percent said the federal government should continue to play a significant role in funding highway construction, as it does now.

But when it came to what the role was – and how to pay for it – they agreed that big changes were in order. The gas tax, our main source of highway money since the 1950s, is probably doomed: Less than half believed it would still supply most of our infrastructure funding in 15 years. A third think it might never be increased again. And almost no one thought it was the best way to pay for roads.   Read on…


Why America's Truckers Want to Pay More for Gas (Hint: Look at our Roads)

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

June 22, 2015

U.S. truckers waste 141 million hours sitting in traffic every year, costing the industry $9.2 billion annually. Photo credit: Susan Goldman/Bloomberg News.America's trucking industry wants Congress to raise taxes on fuel.

No, you read that correctly. Raise, not lower.

Naturally, that begs the question: What could drive America's truckers, who spend more than $100 billion on diesel every year, including roughly $16 billion in fuel taxes, to ask lawmakers to charge them more every time they fill up their tanks?

The answer: America's busted roads.

During a visit last week to Capitol Hill, Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations, pleaded with lawmakers to increase the federal gas tax to raise more money to repair the nation's crumbling roads, highways and bridges as well as build new transit infrastructure. It's urgent that they raise the tax now, he said, as the federal Highway Trust Fund - which provides capital for the majority of those types of construction projects - is currently on pace to run out of funds at the end of July.   Read on…


How Math Is Making Our Highways Crumble


June 16, 2015

Welcome to the world of zero. We’ve grown used to lots of zeros these days: zero inflation (in Europe and Japan) and near-zero interest rates (at least if you’re a U.S. bank, though it’s less than zero if you’re in Europe). And now, get used to zero public investment.

No, we didn’t make that up. It’s a stark reality that might sound like math trickery, but the results are as real as the pothole that just ate your tire. The government spends, say, $100 million building a new strip of highway, but elsewhere in the highway system, there’s — you guessed it — $100 million in highway damage that goes unfixed. In other words, Uncle Sam is playing a fool’s game with the roads and bridges you drive your children on, instead of doing anything to prevent all those potholes and breakdowns that have real-life consequences. “Can it make sense that at this moment, as I speak to you, the share of public investment in GDP … is zero?” asked Harvard economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers recently in a keynote speech at Princeton.   Read on…