October 22 - Election Preview
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Oct. 1 was the 25th anniversary of the last time Congress increased the federal gas tax, the primary source of federal funding for highway and transit projects across the country. The tax has stood at 18.4 cents per gallon for unleaded fuel and 23.4 cents per gallon for diesel since that date back in 1993.
The cost of building and maintaining the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems, meanwhile, has only gone up, along with automobile fuel efficiency. Carl Davis, research director for the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, said that as a result of those factors, “we’ve seen the purchasing power of the gas tax sliced by almost two-thirds.” And Illinois Secretary of Transportation Randy Blankenhorn said, “We’re losing revenue every day just because of inflation.”
“The whole reason this tax exists is to keep our roads paved and to keep our bridges from falling down,” said Davis. “And to do that effectively, it needs to collect a sustainable amount of revenue over time to cover the cost of paving roads and maintaining bridges, and it can’t do that if it’s just not updated for decades at a time.” (KUNC RADIO [GREELEY, COLORADO])