An increased federal fuel tax should be among the tools used to fund necessary infrastructure investments, President Donald Trump’s infrastructure advisor told CNBC on Wednesday.
Real estate developer Richard LeFrak, who co-heads a White House infrastructure council, said he would advocate for a fuel tax hike to keep up with inflation. Without an increase in revenue, the Highway Trust Fund that finances most federal surface transportation programs is not expected to meet its obligations by the end of 2020, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate.
President Donald Trump told Bloomberg News he would consider increasing the tax, but White House spokesman Sean Spicer later backed away from that statement. The tax has not been raised since 1993.
Infrastructure industry leaders from concrete manufacturers to trucking groups have called for an increase in the tax. Voters in several states, like California and Tennessee, have approved increases at the state level.
The former head of the Florida Transportation Department, Ananth Prasad, told Bloomberg BNA he hopes the president keeps a gas tax increase on the table as Trump negotiates an infrastructure package. Prasad, now senior vice president at HNTB Corporation, said people recognize the gas tax as the use tax that it is.
“While Congress seems to be very reluctant to raise gas tax, a lot of states from deep blue to deep red have raised gas tax,” Prasad said. “Whether you’re making $20,000 a year or $100,000 a year, we’re using the same roads.”
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