- - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Late Illinois Republican congressman and 1980 National Unity Party presidential candidate John Anderson was ahead of his time. In 1980 he called for a gasoline tax up to 50 cents per gallon to pay for highway- and transit-infrastructure projects.

Imagine how the national Highway Trust Fund and its mass-transit account could have benefited had we raised this tax only pennies per gallon in 1980. Over the past 37 years, it would have raised billions annually. These dollars would have had greater purchasing power decades ago. Why not honor the late John Anderson and use his idea to help fund President Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan for both highways and public-transit projects and programs today? The national gasoline tax used to support the Highway Trust Fund was last raised to 18.4 cents in 1993. Taking action to raise this tax by only pennies per gallon today could result in a more robust fund. With gasoline at very reasonable prices, isn’t now a good time to do this?

Most Americans — be they urban, suburban or rural residents, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — benefit from good roads, bridges and public transportation. With continuing gridlock and partisan bickering in Washington, increasing funding for the Highway Trust Fund and accompanying transit account could be an issue that both Democratic and Republican members of Congress can agree on.

LARRY PENNER

Great Neck, N.Y.

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