INTRODUCTION OF THE RAISE IT ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 41
(Extensions of Remarks - March 09, 2017)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E301-E302]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                          HON. EARL BLUMENAUER

                               of oregon

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 9, 2017

  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, America is literally falling apart and 
falling behind. Every day, we see new stories of deficient bridges, 
ballooning maintenance backlogs for aging transit systems, urban areas 
choking on congestion, or rising roadway fatalities. Earlier today, the 
American Society of Civil Engineers gave America's infrastructure an 
overall grade of D+, unchanged from 2013. Roads received a D, while 
transit came in at a D-.
  There is universal agreement that we must address these growing 
infrastructure challenges. The only question is how to pay for it. 
That's why I'm introducing the Raise And

[[Page E302]]

Index to Sustainably and Efficiently Invest In Transportation (RAISE 
IT) Act.
  The federal gas tax, unchanged since 1993, has lost more than 40 
percent of its purchasing power due to inflation and rising fuel 
efficiency. Stuck at 18.4 cents a gallon for 24 years, the gas tax has 
led to more than a decade of uncertainty in the federal transportation 
program, a perennially insolvent Highway Trust Fund, and more than $140 
billion borrowed from the general Treasury fund to maintain current, 
inadequate surface transportation funding levels. The Highway Trust 
Fund will run a $15 billion deficit this year and will be bankrupt by 
  Raising the gas tax, supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders 
from the AFL-CIO to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AAA, truckers, and 
transit, would fix the Highway Trust Fund and provide certainty to 
commuters, businesses, and local governments that count on a strong, 
continuing federal partnership. The RAISE IT Act would index the 
federal gas and diesel taxes to inflation and phase in a 15 cent a 
gallon increase over three years, generating $210 billion over the next 
ten years.
  Congress should follow the lead of the eight Republican-led states 
that raised gas taxes in the last two years. Countless editorial 
boards, transportation and economic policy experts, and blue ribbon 
panels like Simpson-Bowles Commission, all call for an increase in the 
federal gas tax. In the words of President Reagan, who more than 
doubled the gas tax in 1983, ``the cost to average motorist will be 
small, but the benefit to our transportation system will be immense.''