The following is a statement from Randall (Randy) S. Over, P.E., F.ASCE, president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), regarding the 21st anniversary of the last federal gas tax increase:
“Today the federal gas tax’s 18.4-cent rate turns 21. While this is a rite of passage for American college students, this milestone is a sad reflection on Congressional inaction when it comes to our transportation system. According to the Consumer Price Index many household prices have nearly doubled in the past 21 years.
- A loaf of bread cost: 1993: $0.75, 2014: $1.39.
- A pound of coffee: 1993: $2.50, 2014: $5.16.
“Meanwhile, without an increase to the gas tax, it has lost 38 percent of its purchasing power.
“We elect our lawmakers to make the tough decisions. However, modernizing our nation’s infrastructure has taken a backseat to partisan politics. America’s more than 600,000 bridges do not have time for such antics. In the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, our roads, bridges, and transit received mediocre grades of a D, C+, and D respectively. These disappointing grades are no surprise. We are trying to fund 2014 infrastructure using 1993 dollars. Because of a lack of political will, the Highway Trust Fund—the federal fund that pays for roads, bridges, and transit—is heading toward insolvency once again.
“Even though Congress hit the snooze button until May 2015, there is still an opportunity for the 113th Congress to pass a bill that provides a long-term solution for transportation infrastructure funding. With these short-term gimmicks, states are unable to effectively plan future projects to modernize our aging roads, bridges, and transit. Americans deserve better. This Congress still has the opportunity to fix the Highway Trust Fund, by passing a long-term bill with a sustainable funding solution before the end of the year. Our economic future depends on reliable infrastructure with reliable funding—not band-aids and duct tape.”