GOP Rep Praises Trump on Infrastructure Plan, Floats Gas Tax as Funding Option
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said President Trump is correct to propose a sweeping infrastructure improvement plan.
Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, said Trump's $200 billion asking price is a good start, but that Congress must now "figure out how to fund that."
Shuster said his home state, often regionally noted for its seasonal pothole problems, benefits greatly from the federal gas tax.
He said that for every dollar a taxpayer in his largely rural district pays in petrol taxes, they receive $1.70 in return.
"The highway trust fund is going to go broke," he said, calling the gas tax more of a "user fee" than a traditional tax.
Shuster pointed to Interstate 81, a major car travel and trucking route, which runs through his district before crossing into Maryland near Greencastle.
He said that people who use the heavily-trafficked corridor often consider that they are driving it "for free," adding that the gas tax "built" the Eisenhower Interstate System.
Shuster said that it is imperative that Congress and the president find a way to pay for their increase in infrastructure spending rather than simply adding to the debt.
"It has to be bipartisan. It has to deal with real revenues," he said, dismissing Democrats' own plan which he said has no funding mechanism.
Shuster's father, former Rep. Elmer "Bud" Shuster (R-Pa.) co-authored a previous sweeping infrastructure plan during the Clinton years.
The elder Shuster helped fund the construction of the 85-mile-long Interstate 99 to replace much of the at-grade US-220 through his state.
The federal gas tax now sits at 18.4 cents per gallon for unleaded gasoline and slightly more for diesel fuel.
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