Raising taxes during a slow economy may seem backwards, but when it’s a pennies-per-gallon user fee on gasoline to pay for a multi-year surface transportation bill, then it makes good sense.
Federal stimulus programs and funding extensions don’t help the nation’s long-term infrastructure needs — or the need for businesses and states to plan for more than just the short-term. Uncertainty holds the entire sector back and the workforce down, as businesses necessarily adjust to the foreseeable workload.
A paid-for, multi-year surface transportation bill would improve the country’s aging infrastructure and significantly boost employment, without adding to the deficit.
It’s been 17 years since the gasoline user fee was last adjusted. It’s time to get past the politics and back on the road to a fiscally sound, long-term transportation investment program.