Future Infrastructure Investment Will Require More Funding

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., participated in a Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing to consider America’s surface transportation infrastructure needs. Wicker used his time to question the potential benefits and disadvantages of alternatives to the current federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. The current federal gas tax has not changed since 1993, and is no longer sufficient to fund the nation’s growing infrastructure needs.

“If we want to build roads and bridges and infrastructure we have to come up with some revenue solutions to actually pay for this,” Wicker said.

Wicker asked witnesses to weigh in on several proposed reforms or alternatives to the current gas tax to fund the highway trust fund.

Carlos M. Braceras, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, noted that by not indexing the gas tax to inflation, “We are fighting two battles. We are fighting the inflation battle, which is a pretty powerful one. And we are also fighting the fact that we haven’t made a change in so long.”

Braceras and the other witnesses agreed there are currently significant privacy concerns with a proposal to switch from a per-gallon gas tax to a “per-mile-driven” model, which would require GPS tracking to differentiate between rural, urban, interstate, and private roads.

Other witnesses at today’s hearing included:

  • Robert Lanham, Vice President, Associated General Contractors of America; and
  • James Corless, Executive Director, Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

Senator Roger Wicker Press Release