Corker Favors Plan To Raise Federal Gas Tax By 12 Cents Over 2 Years To Shore Up Road Repair Fund

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Senator Bob Corker said Wednesday he favors raising the federal gasoline tax by 12 cents over two years to shore up the fund for road repairs.

He and Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) "unveiled the first bipartisan proposal to shore up the Highway Trust Fund by making changes to the federal motor fuels tax, which funds improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems. The proposal would create a long-term, stable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund and enact tax relief for American families and businesses."

Senator Corker said, “Growing up in Tennessee as a conservative, I learned that if something was important enough to have, it was important enough to pay for. That’s how we’ve governed in the Volunteer State, which has resulted in the second best transportation system in the country without having one penny of road debt.

“In Washington, far too often, we huff and puff about paying for proposals that are unpopular, yet throw future generations under the bus when public pressure mounts on popular proposals that have broad support. Congress should be embarrassed that it has played chicken with the Highway Trust Fund and allowed it to become one of the largest budgeting failures in the federal government. If Americans feel that having modern roads and bridges is important then Congress should have the courage to pay for it.”

Senator Murphy said, “For too long, Congress has shied away from taking serious action to update our country’s aging infrastructure.

“We’re currently facing a transportation crisis that will only get worse if we don’t take bold action to fund the Highway Trust Fund. By modestly raising the federal gas tax, we can address a crippling economic liability for this country—the inability to finance long-term improvements to our crumbling national infrastructure. I know raising the gas tax isn’t an easy choice, but we’re not elected to make easy decisions – we’re elected to make the hard ones. This modest increase will pay dividends in the long run and I encourage my colleagues to get behind this bipartisan proposal.”

The federal Highway Trust Fund provides more than half of the country’s spending on transportation projects and will begin to run dry in July likely halting the construction of any new transportation projects without action from Congress, the senators said. They said that "would result in a 50 percent reduction in Tennessee’s transportation budget in 2015 and create a $160 billion hole in state budgets nationwide over the next decade at a time when they can least afford it if not addressed."

They also said, "The federal gas and diesel taxes, which are used to fund this account, have not been updated in over 20 years despite the desperate need for road and bridge improvements. As a result, the purchasing power of the gas tax is approximately 63 percent of what it was in 1993, and continues to decline. A change to the federal gas tax would not only strengthen purchasing power, it would also create thousands of new jobs and allow states to invest in long-term economic development projects."

The senators’ proposal would increase the federal gasoline and diesel taxes by six cents in each of the next two years for a total of 12 cents. This would provide enough funding to offset current MAP-21 spending levels over the next 10 years and replace all of the buying power the federal gas tax has lost since it was last raised in 1993, it was stated.

The plan would index the gas tax to inflation, using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), to ensure that it remains viable into the future, they said.

To offset the revenue raised from increasing the gas tax to pay for roads and transportation projects, Senators Corker and Murphy propose providing net tax relief for American families and businesses. Examples of tax relief could include: permanently extending some of the tax provisions in the “tax extenders” bill that already have broad, bipartisan support, creating potentially billions of dollars in permanent tax relief for American families and businesses over the next 10 years alone; or another bipartisan proposal to reduce taxes by at least the amount of revenue raised from the gas tax over the next decade.


Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For Aug. 15-21

Here is the arrest report from Fort Oglethorpe for Aug. 15-21: James Lee Anthony, 21, of 268 Linda Lane, Rossville was arrested August 14 on a charge of driving while license suspended/revoked. Amy Renee Garner, 39, of 3299 Garretts Chapel Road, Chickamauga was arrested August 14 on charges of driving while license suspended/revoked and following too closely. Sara Keari ... (click for more)

Arrest Made In Cleveland Churcch Burglaries; Another Suspect Sought

A suspect in the Cleveland church burglaries was located at Horizon Square Apartments in Cleveland, at 12:52 a.m. on Friday. Justin Lee Bazzano, 25, of Cleveland, was charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of vandalism over $500, and two counts of theft over $1,000. Active warrants are on file for the second suspect, Clint A. Neice, 25. Neice is a white male, 5'8", ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House? - And Response

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)

Notre Dame's Kareem Orr Looking For Big Results

(This is the 16th in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area) Notre Dame’s football team has won 18 games in the first two years of Charles Fant’s time as the Fighting Irish head coach. The Signal Mountain Eagles have beaten Notre Dame in both of ... (click for more)

McCallie's 97-Yard Drive Proof Of Dominant 44-0 Win In Opener

With the game in hand, McCallie’s offense unleashed an impressive third-quarter drive that exemplified Cleveland’s inability to handle the Blue Tornado offense Thursday night at Finley Stadium. The Blue Raiders’ only real scoring threat ended at McCallie’s 3 on successive incomplete passes by quarterback Austin Massey to intended receivers Eric Goodwin and Rod Dennard. McCallie ... (click for more)