President Trump said on May 1 that he would consider increasing U.S. gasoline taxes if the proceeds were guaranteed to fund improvements for highways and other infrastructure needs across the nation.
“It’s something that I would certainly consider,” Trump told Bloomberg. “The truckers have said that they want me to do something as long as that money is earmarked to highways.”
The current federal gasoline tax stands at 18.4 cents per gallon and the federal diesel tax stands at 24.4 cents per gallon.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, the nation is in sore need of road repairs. The report, which is published every four years, gave U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of D+ for 2017. It’s the same grade the nation received back in 2013, when the ASCE lamented the state of U.S. roads, bridges, airports, and railroads.
Based on the current U.S. infrastructure report card, the ASCE estimates the nation will need to dedicate a good $4.5 trillion by 2025 to properly repair all of its decaying structures. These structures include roads, bridges, schools, dams, airports, and many more.
Repairing all of the crumbling roads alone would cost a hefty amount. Of course, markets for things like traffic paint, which had a value of $454 million in 2014, would prosper in the wake of such repairs. But it is unlikely such repairs will take place.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer clarified after Trump’s Bloomberg interview that the President had not endorsed raising the gasoline tax. Rather, Spicer said Trump said he would consider it out of respect for groups that had previously come forward with the idea.
“What the president said during that interview is that folks from the industry had come to him and expressed to him how the deteriorating roads were affecting their ability to deliver goods and services … they had expressed a willingness to see something like that as a way to help pay for and repair the roads and bridges,” he said during a press briefing.
It’s uncertain whether any further action will be taken concerning this matter, but energy officials like Chevron CEO John Watson have suggested alternative solutions.
“I think a good first step would be to evaluate where existing taxes are going. In other words, we have road taxes today. How are they being used? Are they being put to good use in rebuilding our infrastructure? If we don’t have existing funds, then we can consider other funding mechanisms,” he told CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”