Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bob Corker (R-TN) have proposed a 12 cent increase in the federal gas tax over the next two years. The federal gas tax, currently at 18.4 cents per gallon, has not been raised since 1993. The proposal would lead to a 12 cent per gallon increase that would be phased in over the next two years. Revenues from the tax would go toward the Highway Trust Fund, which is predicted to face a $160 billion budget deficit in the next ten years. The Highway Trust Fund pays for interstate projects and important highway infrastructure. The fund has seen less gas tax revenues recently as vehicles have become more efficient.
Support for the increase has come from across both aisles of Congress, as the price of gas has decreased for the last 102 consecutive days. While some, such as House Speaker John Boehner(R-OH), have ruled out the potential for an increase, many other Republican and Democratic leaders have come out in support of an increase. While opponents of the gas tax cite its regressive nature and the fact it is already taxed by many states, proponents argue that with gas prices so low, now is the time to increase revenues to ensure future funding of the nation’s highway system. While no vote is scheduled yet, the increased gas tax is likely to become a salient issue in Congress in the coming weeks and may become a reality by May.