Carper Statement on Raising the Gas Tax to Fund Much-Needed Infrastructure Projects

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued the following statement after President Trump said that he would “certainly consider” raising the U.S. gas and diesel tax to fund infrastructure development as part of his tax plan released last week.

“When President Trump has proposed questionable policies over the past few months, I have not hesitated to criticize him. But when the president advocates for policies that have merit, it’s only fair I speak up then, too. For decades, we have largely paid for our roads, highways and bridges with user fees so that the people and businesses who use our transportation system help to pay for it. Unfortunately, we have moved away from that approach in recent years and have woefully underfunded our transportation system as a result.

“Seven years ago, the Bowles-Simpson Commission embraced a bipartisan idea by the late Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and me that called for restoring the purchasing power of the gas and diesel tax, which had not been raised since 1993. Back then, we proposed increasing the gas and diesel tax by four cents per year over four years, and then indexing it to inflation, raising much-needed funds to improve the roads, highways and bridges that are so critical to our continued economic growth. This investment would only cost the average driver the equivalent of a cup of coffee a week – not a high price for a modern transportation system we can be proud of and one that can move our country’s economy in the right direction.

“Gradually raising the gas and diesel tax is just one element of an all-of-the-above approach to funding our transportation system, and we must not lose sight of other innovative ideas like vehicle-miles traveled, tolling and public-private partnerships. Since 2013, nearly 20 states across the country have raised their gas and diesel taxes. And in those states, both Democrat and Republican legislators who voted to do so have been overwhelmingly reelected. That just goes to show that if you do the right thing, you will be rewarded by voters. ”