US Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) has introduced legislation that would hike federal gasoline and diesel fuel taxes to raise revenue for the federal Highway Trust Fund. He said his bill would increase the taxes, which have not changed since 1993, by 4¢/year for 4 years, and subsequently index them to inflation.
“America has funded transportation systems, including the entire Interstate Highway System, with the [gasoline] tax for 83 years,” Carper said. “Inflation, fuel-efficient cars, and other factors mean we don't take in as much money as we used to, yet the need to maintain and improve our transportation systems hasn’t dropped. In fact, most experts argue we need to be doing more.”
He said the measure provides an alternative to repeated budget crises, increasing the national debt, and borrowing money from foreign governments to improve the domestic transportation system.
“At a time when [gasoline] prices are some of the lowest we’ve seen in recent memory, we should be willing to make the hard choice to raise the federal tax,” Carper said.
Specifically, the bill would extend and expand the earned income (EITC) and child (CTC) tax credits, he said. It would make both credits permanent, as well as expand the EITC for childless workers, index the CTC to inflation, and make it easier for working Americans who qualify to claim the EITC.
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