Drivers Could Soon See A Gas Tax Increase

Drivers Could Soon See A Gas Tax Increase

Pending legislation could wind up costing you more at the pump. Lawmakers in Washington and Austin are looking for ways to increase funding for transportation and road improvements.

Right now, they both agree they are running out of money. The national Highway Trust Fund is dwindling down. The account is projected to be empty by August 1, 2014, according to the United States Transportation website.  

U.S. Senate members Chris Murphy (D) Connecticut, and Bob Corker (R) Tennessee, proposed a 12-cent gas tax increase to pay for the highway and transportation programs.  

"They say they need more money to keep the infrastructure and to repair the roads," said Alex Mills, President of Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.

Currently, gas consumers pay an 18.4 cent gas tax to the federal government and a 20 cent gas tax to the state, according the the Texas A&M Transportation Institute website.  The proposal would bring 6 cents in the first year and an additional 6 cents the following year.

“Anytime you have a tax increase in a time of a recession, and when you have economic problems in the country it has even more detrimental impact upon the recovery,” said Mills. Mills said a federal gas tax increase might not be the best solution.  

 However, lawmakers in Austin are looking for any alternative to hiking up the gas tax. Instead they will ask for 1.3 billion dollars to be taken out of the rainy day fund each year. They will send voters to the polls in November. 

However, the rainy day money would not be a final solution. Lawmakers would still have to search for a more permanent fix. A Texas House Select Committee met July 2, to discuss other tax increase alternatives.

“In order to continue to effectively work with our local partners and plan future projects that will improve safety, address congestion and help with our state’s economic prosperity, it’s imperative Congress enact a long-term solution to the looming federal funding situation,” said a statement from the Texas Department of Transportation