It’s “wishful thinking” that President Donald Trump would promote a 25 cent gas tax hike to pay for his $200 billion infrastructure plan, according to Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe.
Inhofe, a Republican, said Democrats and the media misinterpreted Trump’s comments made during a recent bipartisan infrastructure meeting at the White House.
“I know the comments that were made after that meeting and I know who made them,” Inhofe said at a Washington Examiner event on Thursday, Politico reported. “And there was, I have to say, a lot of wishful thinking in his comments.”
Inhofe said that Trump “recognized that there’s gonna have to be a source of funding.” Inhofe attended the White House meeting on Wednesday. Shortly after the meeting, two sources told Axios that Trump has endorsed a gas tax.
“And when the president says, ‘Yes, everything’s on the table,’ and that would include an increase in the gas tax, he didn’t say it in those words, but everything is on the table,” Inhofe said.”And then the interpretation that this person had was ‘Ah, the president now wants to have a gas tax increase.'”
Inhofe’s remarks were specifically directed at Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper, who said Trump “came back to the idea of a 25 cent increase several times throughout the meeting.”
“While there are a number of issues on which President Trump and I disagree, today, we agreed that things worth having are worth paying for, and the president even offered to help provide the leadership necessary so that we could do something that has proven difficult in the past,” Carper said in a statement on Wednesday.
Carper is the ranking member on the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Inhofe also sits on the committee.
Many Republican lawmakers and conservative groups have opposed gas tax hike proposals in the past, saying it would punish Americans’ pocketbooks. A 25 cent gas tax hike would increase the current tax from 18.3 cents to 43.3 cents per gallon.
However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports a 25 cent gas tax hike that would be indexed for inflation. The Chamber said the hike would raise $394 billion over 10 years.
“While the user fee increase I proposed would cost the average motorist about $9 a month, our badly deteriorating roads are causing approximately $40 a month in increased maintenance and operating costs,” Chamber CEO Thomas Donahue said in January.
“Our broken infrastructure is also robbing Americans of time with their families,” he said.
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