WashPost Article (or Press Release?) Promotes Raising Gas Tax by 15 Cents a Gallon

December 6th, 2013 7:54 AM

With anti-tax Republicans in control of the House, it’s a little odd that The Washington Post would devote a story on Thursday to liberal Democrat Earl Blumenauer’s proposal to raise the federal gas tax by 15 cents a gallon.

It was stranger that reporter Ashley Halsey III seemed ordered to produce a Blumenauer press release, quoting absolutely no opposition to such a tax hike, instead quoting tax-hike backers like AAA and unions. No one seemed to ask whether the nation's infrastructure was supposed to get a boost from Obama's "stimulus."

With Congress facing a major shortfall in transportation funding next year, a House bill introduced Wednesday would raise the federal gasoline tax by 15 cents per gallon to close the gap.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced the proposal at a news conference, flanked by an array of labor, construction and business leaders. It would raise the federal tax on gas to 33.4 cents per gallon and on diesel to 42.8 cents...

To fund the current federal transportation bill, which expires next year, Congress transferred more than $50 billion from general tax revenue. Blumenauer cited estimates that the trust fund will need $15 billion more each year if Congress decides to keep funding at current levels when it considers a new long-term surface transportation bill in 2014.

He said that phasing in a 15-cent-per-gallon tax over three years would raise about $170 billion in the next decade.

Taking no action on the trust fund is not a viable option unless Congress is prepared to slash transportation funding, transfer the tax burden to the states or agree to a massive transfer of money from general tax revenue.

“It is time to be honest with ourselves and with the American people,” said Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, who supported Blumenauer’s proposal. “Partisan rhetoric knee-jerk reaction and anti-tax extremism will not solve this problem or make it go away.”

Blumenauer compared the tax hike to a colonoscopy -- which means Katie Couric will favor it.