Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on Thursday introduced a bill that would require the Treasury Department to study the viability of raising new federal highway funds by taxing cars for each mile they drive.
Blumenauer’s bill, H.R. 6662, is a response to dwindling highway funds, which he and other Democrats have said threatens to delay much-needed federal highway projects, and also threatens the creation of infrastructure jobs. Pressure has been building for the last few years to find alternative ways of raising highway funds, as revenues from gasoline taxes have not kept up with demand for new spending.
“We must invest now in our nation’s roads, bridges and public transit to prevent enormous costs in the future,” Blumenauer said Thursday. “With the Highway Trust Fund facing a 21 percent reduction revenue by 2040, based on current driving patterns and projected increases in fuel economy, we need innovative solutions to close this gap.”
Blumenauer says $48 billion has been moved from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund over the last four years, but that the fund needs another $15 billion a year — on top of the gas taxes already collected — just to stay at 2009 funding levels.