Panel Wants Fuel Taxes Hiked To Fund Highways

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal commission created by Congress is recommending a 50-percent increase in gasoline and diesel fuel taxes as a way to finance highway construction and repair.

The National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing is the second group in a year to call for higher fuel taxes.

In a report expected later this month, members of the commission say they will urge Congress to raise the gas tax, now 18.4 cents a gallon, by 10 cents and the diesel fuel tax, now 24.4 cents a gallon, by 12 to 15 cents. At the same time, the commission will recommend tying the fuel tax rates to inflation.

A tax increase of this magnitude would be politically treacherous for Democratic leaders in Congress. President-elect Barack Obama has expressed concern about raising gas taxes in the current economic climate. But commission members say the government must find the money somewhere.

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