White House officials and top Republican lawmakers are discussing in private the possibility of raising the federal gas tax to help pay for President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan.
Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster pushed his party and the White House during a meeting to take seriously the possibility of raising the nation’s gas tax, according to a report Thursday in Axios. Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, meanwhile said all options are on the table for raising revenue.
The officials had a positive conversation about the subject, an anonymous source told an Axios reporter. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming disagreed with that option, however, South Dakota Sen. John Thune seemed interested in raising the gas tax.
Trump, who promised to rebuild the country’s roads and bridges, revealed during his State of the Union address Tuesday that he wants a minimum of $1.5 trillion in new investment on infrastructure programs. He asked for Democrats and Republicans “to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve.”
It’s unclear if the money would come directly from appropriations, or somehow include money that could be generated through partnerships with local, state and private entities. A draft of the White House’s plan on infrastructure leaked Jan. 22 suggests putting 50 percent of any funds into incentives for public-private partnerships on infrastructure projects.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is frequently opposed to tax increases, floated earlier this month the possibility of convincing the Trump administration to impose higher gas taxes might benefit activists who want a carbon tax.
The chamber believes increasing the tax will help pay for a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. American drivers “would pay about $108 more per year” if the tax goes through, while also helping to offset the costs of building better roads.
The White House confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that the discussions did take place.
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