The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) just released a new report assessing the nation’s infrastructure needs. Entitled, “A Framework for Infrastructure Funding,” the report concludes that a federal fuel tax increase is necessary for attaining the large-scale infrastructure program envisioned by the administration. Generating enough revenue through other mechanisms, such as mileage-based user fees and increased tolling, would place undue hardship on system users.
ATRI suggests a federal fuel tax increase will incentivize states to match federal funding for infrastructure. The tax has not been increased in more than two decades. The report finds that a 20-cent federal fuel tax increase would generate around $30 billion annually and create nearly half a million jobs.
“Maybe the most important and unexpected benefit of a federal fuel tax increase is the hundreds of thousands of new, high-paying construction jobs that will be produced,” said Dennis Dellinger, President of Cargo Transporters. “We often assume that the only reason to raise the fuel tax is to lay more asphalt and concrete. Forgotten in the mix is that tax revenues can simultaneously produce good roads and good jobs.”
The trucking industry contributes $18 billion in federal user fees each year, but growing traffic congestion and freight bottlenecks cost the industry more than $63 billion each year. Without a refurbishment of the nation’s infrastructure, the growth of e-commerce will slow, said ATRI, as freight deliveries fail to meet the real-time demand of American consumers.
According to public polling data, Americans prefer a federal fuel tax over other funding mechanisms when the revenue is earmarked for transportation infrastructure.
“ATRI’s research corroborates what many of us have espoused in Washington and in every state capital–people are demanding action on transportation investment, and the federal fuel tax is the ideal tool for delivering the much needed funding,” said Chris Spear, ATA President.
The full report can be downloaded from ATRI’s website at TruckingResearch.org.
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