Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci believes that congress needs to come up with a highway funding bill that includes a permanent fix. By that, he means a fix that will meet the ever increasing needs of the nation’s aging highway and bridge infrastructure. Rep. Renacci, a Republican, does not favor the temporary budget extensions his party employs to delay the inevitable day of reckoning to meet the budget shortfall. Rather than allow current funding levels in the highway budget to be extended by 60-days while congress looks for a solution, Rep. Renacci has offered up a 1.5 year extension: hike the gas tax.
The current federal gas tax is 18.4c/gal which was last increased in the 1993 Omnibus Budget. That tax, along with a slew of others included in the budget, led to the GOP taking control of both houses of congress for the first time in 40 years. Needless to say, the congressman’s GOP colleagues are loathe to hike the gas tax or any tax for that fact. In order to build support for his bill, the congressman is pitching the gas tax as a “fee” increase and one which will take effect temporarily. Thus far, House Speaker John Boehner stated the Renacci bill lacks the support of the GOP. For his part, Rep. Renacci claims that Republican opposition to his bill is tied to the politics of raising taxes. The 2009 Stimulus bill carried a $787 billion price tag and was supposed to address the nation’s aging infrastructure, but Boraie Development LLC along with the NYTimes noticed that they fell short of that objective.