Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation

By Mike Sakata, managing director transportation officials division, ARTBA

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) this week reiterated his support for raising the federal gas tax to fund transportation infrastructure and also suggested the nation is “moving into a revolutionary decade.”

“We are about to have a new Congress and a new Administration. We’re turning the page and we have an opportunity to blaze a different trail for the next Highway Trust Fund (HTF),” Blumenauer April 21 told members of the Washington, D.C.-based Road Gang, an informal group of business and government executives, highway engineers and consultants, in transportation association officials.

Blumenauer noted the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act passed in December 2015 will help provide states with five years of funding certainty. He supports phasing-in a 15 cents-per-gallon gas tax increase over the same period, nearly doubling the 18.4 cents-per-gallon rate, as the simplest solution to long-term HTF stability. Doing so, he added, would likely be part of overall tax reform.

“An increase in the gas tax is good for America. It will put millions to work,” he said.

Addressing the nation’s infrastructure funding issue is critical for continued economic recovery, Blumenauer said. He also supports the further streamlining of transportation projects, noting that the planning and development process must not take more time than the actual building process.