What is not mentioned in Trump's infrastructure plan or proposed budget is an increase to the federal excise tax on gasoline, which has been 18.4 cents per gallon (CPG) since 1993. However, this does not mean that the White House is against the idea.
Earlier reporting suggested that Trump was open to supporting an increase in the federal gas tax. And in January, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented its proposal to raise the gas tax by 25 CPG over five years to help fund infrastructure improvements.
Most recently, at a White House press conference Feb. 13, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao confirmed that "everything is on the table," after being asked if President Trump agreed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s proposal.
"The gas tax has an adverse impact, a very regressive impact, on the most vulnerable within our society, those who depend on jobs, who are hourly workers," she said. "So these are tough decisions, which is why, once again, we need to start the dialogue with the Congress, and so that we can address these issues on this very important point."
And on Feb. 14, sources told Axios that Trump had endorsed a 25-CPG increase to the gas tax and was open to other ways to help pay for infrastructure during a White House meeting with senior administration officials and legislators.
NATSO supports increasing the 18.4-CPG federal gas tax to help fund the federal infrastructure.
Chao also said Congress should examine how to keep afloat the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for improvements to the federal highway system and is fed by revenues from federal fuel taxes.
"The Highway Trust Fund does need to be addressed because, every year, more money goes out of it than receipts are received," she said, and pointed to estimates that the fund would run out of money in 2021 unless Congress finds additional revenue. "So we, in conjunction with the Congress, have got to address this issue."