Left: the installation of a new sanitary sewer line for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Ariz. Contractors on infrastructure projects work with all kinds of equipment. Right: workers on a deep job for a new 30-inch sewer line for the City of Chandler, Ariz. Municipal pipes, drinking water and stormwater are ongoing U.S. concerns. (Photos courtesy of Markham Contracting Co.)

Derailing Federal Gas Tax Won’t Benefit Communities Seeking New Infrastructure Investment

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Leaders, those in the infrastructure industry and transportation officials are cautioning against legislation that would forgo the federal gas tax to offset inflation.

Disrupting investment will likely be shortsighted considering that there are multiple market forces policymakers cannot affect. Also, infrastructure investment has a substantial and positive impact at the local level.

In the latest ATM Podcast, David Martin, President of the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors (AGC), calls the policy proposal counterintuitive. He adds it will make it difficult for planners and states that require project certainty and long-term funding to move projects forward.

A dollar invested in infrastructure brings in $2.50 additional activity to the economy overall, adds Martin. He emphasizes that infrastructure is an economic engine for America, and not a frivolous investment. [We know that thousands of good jobs, for example, can be created from just one bridge project.]

The ATM also spoke to Martin about Arizona’s transportation and fiscal challenges as well as how he initially sees the idea of a federal gas tax halt — something the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) says will cost the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) over $20 billion dollars.

Ironically, this trial balloon comes during a time in which there has been a legislative focus to finally fix, maintain and ramp up our nation’s infrastructure and improve our global footing.

The United States’ roads, bridges and public transit systems are in need of modernization and rely on federal gas-tax receipts that help keep the trust fund solvent for federal programs and allocations to state departments of transportation (DOTs).

The federal gas tax is already at a 1993 rate, 18.4 cents. Indexed for inflation, it would be around 35 cents a gallon today.

 

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