Trump will reportedly support gas tax hike as long as it pays for infrastructure

Michael Bastasch, DCNF

President Donald Trump reportedly endorsed a gas tax hike Wednesday to pay for his $200 billion infrastructure plan.

President Donald Trump, joined by from left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., speaks to media during a meeting with bipartisan Members of Congress about infrastructure in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, Trump supported a 25 cent per gallon hike in the gas tax, two sources with direct knowledge of the meeting told Axios Wednesday. Trump also said he was “open to other ways” to pay for a major infrastructure build-out.

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.

If that gas tax hike went into effect today, the national average gas price would go from $2.56 to $2.81 per gallon.

Trump’s support of a gas tax hike comes after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called for 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.

Trump unveiled his infrastructure plan Monday, calling for Congress to reform major environmental laws to streamline the federal permitting process. The plan calls for $200 billion in federal funding to leverage a total of $1.5 trillion for infrastructure. Trump’s plan did not mention a gas tax, but the Chamber and others have agitated for raising it to pay for infrastructure projects.

Some Republicans have spoken favorably of raising the gas tax, but it’s unclear if such a proposal would pass Congress. Republicans may need Democratic support to raise the gas tax.

Conservative groups, however, have come out against raising the gas tax. They argue it could undo the benefits many Americans got from recently passed tax cuts.

“Raising the gas tax is a bad idea,” a coalition of conservative groups, led by Americans for Prosperity, wrote in a letter to federal lawmakers.

“It will make the burden of government on families and businesses heavier,” 30 conservative groups wrote. “A higher gas tax means higher prices not just on gas, but on goods and services throughout the economy. These costs would inevitably be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices, resulting in a regressive tax hike on those who can least afford it.”

Money raised from a gas tax would negate more than one-quarter of the fiscal benefit Americans saw from GOP-led tax cuts.

The White House did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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