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Read All About It! Editorials Call for Increased Taxes to Fund HTF

Dozens of recent newspaper editorials called for funding the HTF, investing in transportation infrastructure, and increasing the gas tax, drawing the connection between diminished transportation investments and the stagnant gas tax with stalled local economies, job loss, and delayed community improvements.

A few brief excerpts from recent editorials follow:

Washington Post: States will lose about 28 percent of their federal transportation funds once the HTF becomes insolvent. If no authorization legislation is forthcoming, “the flow of money will dry up entirely. States, which get an average of 50 percent of their transportation funding from the federal government, already are delaying or canceling infrastructure projects—in the peak of the summer construction season.”

Los Angeles Times: “Over two decades, the cost of building and maintaining the nation’s transportation infrastructure has gone up significantly, while the tax designed to fund the work has stayed flat.”

Seattle Times: “Congress doesn’t need to rethink transportation in the next 30 days. Its job for now is to make sure the Highway Trust Fund doesn’t run dry. States are counting on that money.” The editorial continued, “. . . a problem everyone has known about for years needs to be fixed right this minute.”

Denver Post: “Good infrastructure is key to our prosperity, and Congress should ensure that it doesn’t continue to deteriorate.”

Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA): The purchasing power of the gasoline tax that funds the HTF has declined 48 percent since its last increase in 1993. While “nobody likes to pay more at the pump,” the editorial stated, the time has come to increase the tax to keep the trust fund solvent.

Portland (ME) Press Herald: Retaining the tax rate has amounted to a 64 percent cut to federal transportation spending since 1993. “Trying to support our infrastructure with steadily reduced funding would be bad enough if we were just trying to maintain what we have,” the editorial noted. “But when we should be improving our transportation network, it’s laughable.”

Charleston (WV) Daily Mail: “The strength of the nation’s economy depends on a strong, dependable and safe transportation system. Congress must reestablish transportation as a long-term national priority.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “A bump at the pump might be worth more than failing roads . . . . Instead of stopgap measures and gimmicks, basic infrastructure spending should be covered permanently by a sensible and updated tax code. For the sake of a safe and functional federal highway system, the tax will need to rise.”

Wichita (KS) Eagle: “Americans are about to find out whether Congress can act when it must to keep from idling highway construction projects across the country . . . . Election year or not, though, it’s time for Congress to demonstrate that it can still function when it has to—in this case to keep road crews working, commerce moving and drivers safe.”

Lawrence (KS) Journal-World: “Congress can’t seem to agree about much these days, but this problem demands a solution—now. There may be other options, but for now, an increase in the gasoline tax makes sense.”
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