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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

DeFazio bill would raise gas tax to fund infrastructure projects

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)
Photo – DeFazio's Twitter account

U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has introduced a bill that would increase funding for roads, bridges and transit systems by raising the gas tax by a penny per year.

DeFazio's "Investing in America: A Penny for Progress Act," (H.R. 1664), would generate about $500 billion in federal funding to address a state-of-good-repair backlog of infrastructure projects and meet future highway and transit needs through 2030, according to a press release issued by the congressman's office.

To pay for the investment, the bill would authorize the U.S. Department of the Treasury to issue 30-year Invest in America Bonds annually through 2030. Each bond would be repaid with revenue from indexing the federal gas and diesel tax starting in 2017.

The tax would be indexed on two factors: the cost of constructing transportation projects and reduced motor fuel usage from Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

The additional infrastructure investment represents a 30 percent increase over current funding levels, according to DeFazio. For example, this year, the bill would provide an additional $630 million for formula and discretionary freight programs, $3.2 billion for the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, and $85 million for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA).

Federal gas and diesel taxes have not been increased since 1993.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/27/2017