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Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus Backs Gas Tax To Finance Infrastructure Spending

(Cheriss May/Getty Images)

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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The bipartisan House Problem Solvers’ Caucus backed an increase to the gas tax as a means to finance infrastructure spending, according to a report released Friday.

The 58-member caucus proposed indexing the taxes to inflation, freeway construction costs, fuel-economy standards or a combination of the three, according to the 20-page document. It also proposes broad solutions to better the nation’s roadways, waterways and ports, energy, broadband and aviation infrastructure, and floats a vehicle-miles tax for electric cars, since they are exempt from buying gasoline.

“This report details bipartisan policy solutions that will improve our highways, roads and bridges, transit and railways, ports and airports, water and sewer systems, energy systems and the power grid, and broadband and communications networks,” it says. “This task force believes we can build a 21st Century infrastructure network that will foster a truly 21st Century economy that works for every single American.”

The group’s endorsement of a gas tax increase could lend momentum to the measure, which has appeared in neither President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan or Republicans’ counteroffer. The gas tax stands at 18.4 cents a gallon, and has not been raised since 1993.

The report refrains from discussing specific funding levels, but it does call for federal investments to improve American rail, water infrastructure and broadband. The bipartisan plan was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“We cannot afford four more years of crumbling bridges, roads, and tunnels, lead-filled pipes, and failed transportation, which is why the Problem Solvers Caucus is putting partisanship aside to find a solution that brings both parties to the table,” said New Jersey Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer, one of the caucus’s co-chairs. (RELATED: The Problem Solvers Caucus Is Ready To Meet Biden’s Call For Unity)

The Brent Spence Bridge, which connects Covington to Cincinnati via Interstates 71 and 75, is considered to be “functionally obsolete” due to the amount of daily traffic it carries, which is nearly double for its original design. (JEFF DEAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Its release follows Biden’s announcement of his sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure package, which invests in everything from traditional infrastructure to affordable housing, electric vehicles, semiconductors and child care. Republicans on Thursday released their $568 billion counteroffer, a more targeted bill which sticks largely to physical infrastructure.

Instead of a gas tax increase, the White House has instead focused on tax increases for corporations and wealthy Americans, arguing that those will not adversely impact low-income Americans. Republicans and some moderate Democrats, however, have objected to Biden’s proposed corporate tax increase, which would raise the rate from 21% to 28%.

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