President Obama will propose a $10-per-barrel fee on oil, paid by oil companies, to cover the costs of his $300 billion “clean” transportation programs in his new federal budget, the White House said Thursday.
While his budget has little chance of passing in the Republican-led Congress, the president is proposing a massive increase in spending on mass transit, high-speed rail and other options to reduce carbon emissions and gridlock. To pay for it, Mr. Obama will call for a $10 tax per barrel of oil.
“The new fee on oil will also encourage American innovation and leadership in clean technologies to help reshape our transportation landscape for the decades ahead,” the White House said in a statement.
Mr. Obama’s spending plan for fiscal 2017 will be submitted Tuesday to Congress.
Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, said the tax would be passed on to consumers at the pump if it were enacted.
“Another budget, another tax on the middle class,” Mr. Barrasso said in a statement. “President Obama targets new taxes on Americans that can afford it the least to spend more taxpayer dollars on his green energy schemes. Congress should and will reject it.”
Environmentalists responded enthusiastically to Mr. Obama’s proposal. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said the plan would challenge “Big Oil’s stranglehold on how America powers its transportation sector” and create jobs to rebuild a green transportation infrastructure.
“President Obama’s vision underscores the inevitable transition away from oil, and investments like this speed us along the way to a 100 percent clean energy future,” he said. Providing clean, convenient, and affordable transportation choices will create American jobs and protect our climate.”