Falling gasoline prices have sparked congressional debate about increasing the federal gas tax to help fund upcoming infrastructure projects and have set up a potential disagreement among House and Senate Republicans.
The federal gas tax primarily pays for transportation projects but has stayed at 18.4 cents a gallon for roughly two decades, helping create the funding gap.
In addition, increasing construction costs combined with less revenue from the gas tax, in large part because of more fuel-efficient vehicles, have further contributed to the estimated $16 billion funding gap over the past several years.
Though Congress has managed to find money elsewhere in the federal budget to cover the shortages, lawmakers say the country needs more than a stop-gap solution.
However, House Speaker John Boehner suggested Thursday that getting a gas-tax increase passed in the now-Republican-controlled House and Senate seems unlikely.
“When the Democrats had total control of the Congress they couldn’t find the votes,” he told reporters. “It’s doubtful the votes are here to raise the gas tax again. … I’ve never voted to raise the gas tax. We’ll have to work our way through it.”
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