Podcast: Gas Tax Holiday Is A Mirage for Consumers & Will Weaken American Infrastructure
Widespread credit was given to President Biden and Congress for getting a historic bipartisan infrastructure bill passed. However, there is now widespread criticism regarding his push and other lawmakers’ calls to suspend the federal gas tax in hopes of appeasing inflation-weary consumers.
“[Suspending the gas tax] is going to offer no help at the pump for drivers, but it will create a lot of pain for motorists and anyone else who depends on infrastructure because we’re going to blow a big hole in the way we pay to fix our roads and bridges over the long term,” says Brian Turmail, Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives at the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) in the latest Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition podcast.
Critics and experts note that a gas tax suspension will sideswipe the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and limit federal dollars ensuring faster, better and safer transportation and infrastructure in the United States — which saves lives, time and money.
Passing legislation like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was not something other recent presidents were able to achieve. Turmail notes that instead of pushing for a gas tax suspension, the Biden Administration should focus on getting project approvals through and more IIJA money out the door.
Fuel prices rose because they have been affected by the war in Ukraine, embargoes on Russian oil, going from an economy that was “asleep” (during COVID) to one that is “fully awake,” and oil refineries being shut down by companies, Turmail adds. Furthermore, the gas tax rate, 18.4 cents, has remained the same even when fuel prices are lower, so it clearly is not the cost influencer. Americans are being impacted by global and separate external factors.
Constituents respond to infrastructure projects being completed and policymakers know this. America needs to upgrade roads and bridges, put in new public transit lines, and build resilient and more efficient infrastructure to address aging systems.
Recently, as part of IIJA (which includes multiple infrastructure improvement initiatives), the Biden Administration announced airports that will be receiving funding. Regions and officials touted the news.
AGC is a member of ATM.