By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) supports indexing the federal gas tax to inflation, something he said should have been done before. But he characterized as “a lot of wishful thinking” media reports that President Donald Trump supports raising the gas tax.
“Tom (Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) wants to say it his way. What the president said was that yes, everything is on the table. There was a lot of wishful thinking in those comments and that was an interpretation of everything being on the table,” Inhofe said Feb. 15 at a Washington Examiner event on infrastructure.
Inhofe is chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Carper is the ranking Democrat on the overall committee. A day earlier, both attended a bipartisan and bicameral meeting of lawmakers who met with Trump to discuss the new White House infrastructure plan.
Afterward, Carper said Trump had “offered his support for raising the gas and diesel tax by 25 cents a gallon and dedicating that money to improve our roads, highways and bridges.” The White House plan, which includes $200 billion in federal resources, is part of the framework Congress is expected to start work on, Inhofe said. “We are doing it now. That was part of the conversation yesterday. [Trump is] running for reelection and he wants to get this done.”
Inhofe does not expect that finding the funding will be difficult. “If we came up with $836 billion for [President] Barack Obama, that $200 billion is not going to be a problem,” Inhofe said. “Transportation is different than all other expenditures in Congress. It’s popular. We’re going to get it done.”