The following is a statement by Tom Smith, Executive Director, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE):
WASHINGTON, D.C. – ASCE strongly opposes the recent proposal from the Biden Administration to suspend the current 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gasoline tax for three months. Even at the same modest figure of 18 cents per gallon for over 25 years since 1993, the motor fuel tax has represented a reliable federal revenue source for communities to fix and modernize their network of roads, bridges, and transit systems.
Suspending the gas tax would result in the loss of billions in revenue from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), significantly diminishing much of the progress made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at a time when Americans expect improvements to the nation’s roads, bridges, and transit systems. Replacing this lost revenue with funds from other sources is not a viable long-term solution and sets a damaging precedent. Encouraging states to follow suit will compound this bad idea and further exacerbate our nation’s infrastructure funding challenges. Every additional lane mile and bridge span can’t rely on novel, unpredictable funding.
Further, there is little guarantee that motorists will see any real relief at the pump. Holidays aren’t price controls; the manager at the gas station still gets to set their price. Oil producers have benefited significantly in the past from previous state-level gas tax holidays. There is no mechanism to ensure that these “savings” are passed on to consumers, but there is a virtual guarantee of disrupting transportation dollars and the HTF. While it sounds like an enticing solution when pocketbooks are strained, the Administration knows that a variety of factors, including plain supply and demand, affect the prices that people see at fuel stations.
Now is the time to build on the momentum of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which, for the first time in decades, takes significant steps to revitalize our nation’s aging infrastructure, improve public safety, strengthen our economy, and deliver well-paying jobs
About the American Society of Civil Engineers
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit www.asce.org or www.infrastructurereportcard.org and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.