American Society of Civil Engineers lobbies for fuel tax increase
August 14, 2019
In an effort to replenish the coffers of a depleting Highway Trust Fund, the American Society of Civil Engineers has launched a campaign to increase the federal fuel tax, which has not moved in more than 25 years.
The American Society of Civil Engineers has launched a new website called FixTheTrustFund.org. The website is meant to be a tool for both policymakers and the general public to increase support for raising the federal fuel tax.
Currently at 18.4 cents for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel, the fuel tax was last increased in 1993. The Highway Trust Fund receive its funding through federal fuel tax revenue. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the purchasing power of the fuel tax has decreased by 40%.
“Imagine trying to live off the same salary as you did in 1993,” the American Society of Civil Engineers said in a news release. “It’s time to add 25 cents to the current gas tax, over the next five years.”
The website includes several sections on problems with the trust fund system, including sections outlining economic and personal impacts. It also has a feature that allows voters to send their House and Senate representatives a letter supporting a fuel tax increase. Simply fill out a form, and the website will automatically send lawmakers a premade letter.
ASCE also encourages social media users to use the hashtag #FixTheTrustFund to spread the word.
By a unanimous vote, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee recently moved the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act out of committee. Currently in recess, Congress can move forward with the act when lawmakers return in September.
If passed, the act will reauthorize highway and bridge programs that are scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2020. The Highway Trust Fund will receive $287 billion over five years, an increase of 27% from funding allocated by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act signed in December 2015.
Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers releases its Infrastructure Report Card. The report card is a comprehensive assessment of the nation’s 16 major infrastructure categories, according to ASCE’s website.
The latest report card issued in 2017 grades the nation’s infrastructure at a D+. Within the report, roads have a grade of D, bridges have a C+ and transit has a D- grade. With a grade of B, rail was the only surface transportation category to receive a favorable grade.