- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

President Trump endorsed a 25-cent gas tax hike to pay for an ambitious infrastructure plan at a White House meeting with senior administration officials and lawmakers both parties, according to a report by Axios.

The federal tax, currently 18.4 cents a gallon for gas and 24.4 cents for diesel, was last raised in 1993.

A White House official declined to comment on the closed-door discussion but said the gas tax “has its pros and cons, and that’s why the president is leading a thoughtful discussion on the right way to solve our nation’s infrastructure problems.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Tuesday that “everything is on the table” to pay for the president’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, which calls for $200 billion in federal funds over 10 years.

“The president is focused on his 4 priorities: spurring $1.5 trillion of infrastructure investment, cutting down the burdensome permitting process from 10 years to 2, providing funding for rural infrastructure, and investing in workforce development,” the White House official said. “He has said everything is on the table in order to achieve those goals.”

A conservative group, FreedomWorks, reacted strongly against the idea of raising the federal gas tax.

“I’d hate to see a new tax siphon off 20 percent of the $1,000 tax reform bonuses back to the swamp this year,” said FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear applauded Mr. Trump’s “big and bold vision for strengthening American infrastructure.”

“Because it is a user fee, the fuel tax is the most conservative, cost-effective and viable solution to making that vision a reality,” Mr. Spear said. “Ninety-nine cents of every dollar goes directly to road and bridge maintenance, and it doesn’t add a penny to the deficit. There’s a reason why Ronald Reagan twice signed this idea into law.”

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