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Summer Gas Tax <s>Holiday</s> Hike

July 20, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

McCain and Clinton’s are <a href=“”">so dead in Congress that the prevailing plan now is actually to raise federal gas taxes by about 10 cents.

>Despite calls from the presidential campaign trail for a Memorial Day-to-Labor Day tax freeze, lawmakers quickly concluded _ with a prod from the construction industry _ that having $9 billion less to spend on highways could create a pre-election specter of thousands of lost jobs.
>Now, lawmakers quietly are talking about raising fuel taxes by a dime from the current 18.4 cents a gallon on gasoline and 24.3 cents on diesel fuel.
>Oberstar, D-Minn., said his committee is working on the next long-term highway bill. He estimated it will take between $450 billion and $500 billion over six years to address safety and congestion issues with highways, bridges and transit systems.
>"We’ll put all things on the table," Oberstar said, but the gas tax “is the cornerstone. Nothing else will work without the underpinning of the higher user fee gas tax.”

August 1 is the anniversary of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, and with the Highway Trust fund already running too low to fully fund the nation’s highway infrastructure plans next year, Democrats are figuring that the ten-cent increase is necessary to prevent similar disasters in the future. But as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points out, over twelve percent of the last transportation bill was spent on earmarks, many of which are not even related to transportation needs.

>Pork is the cholesterol of infrastructure. Whenever Congress attempts to address legitimate infrastructure needs, it signals open season on the taxpayers. In that bill last year, over $8 billion got spent on earmarks — the same amount that Congress says will be the shortfall this year for transportation needs, and the deficit they need to erase by raising the gas tax.

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