Across the country, many states are proving that funding and modernizing infrastructure is a key priority. We just saw Illinois pass a massive, bipartisan transportation package in June as a part of the “Rebuild Illinois Plan,” which created new revenue for roads and bridges, as well as increased the vehicle registration fee and added an electric vehicle registration fee. A state that had not seen a gas tax increase since 1990 saw one that took effect, along with 12 other states, on July 1 – generating an additional $1.2 billion.
These increases will go towards modernizing surface transportation in 13 states. Some of these states saw minor changes or included previously enacted scheduled tax hikes, others chose to index their gas taxes to inflation, and states such as Arkansas, Alabama, Illinois and Ohio saw their first increase in as many as 29 years. Others states whose transportation funds will see an increase in revenue this fiscal cycle included incremental increases or indexed their motor fuels tax. Indexing refers to linking the tax increase to either the consumer price index or a predetermined formula included in the legislation.
Neither a red nor blue state issue, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont all saw increases thanks to the hard-work and effort of ASCE Key Contacts and State Report Card Committee Members. Out of these 13 states, ASCE recently released state report cards in seven states, many of which the recommendations called for an increase in the state’s gas tax to fund transportation.
Now that the states are doing their part in funding infrastructure by implementing these gas tax increases, it’s time for the federal government to do its’ part. One reason the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which finances most federal government spending for highways and mass transit, only has enough funds to go through fiscal year 2020 is because the United States has not seen a gas tax increase since 1993 and sits at stagnant 18.4 cents per gallon. To fix the Highway Trust Fund, ASCE recommends increasing the federal motor fuels tax by five cents a year for five years. This would provide a much-needed infusion of $394 billion over 10 years into the Highway Trust Fund.
ASCE thanks states for making infrastructure a priority and urges Congress to fix the Highway Trust Fund so that American families can stop paying a hidden tax of $3,400 a year and spend more time at home with their family and less time in the car.