Change We Can Believe In! A Bill to End the Federal Gas Tax

This is the kind of things that Republicans should push and push hard.


The notion that U.S. infrastructure is crumbling and underfunded has been common lately, and more such news came in February, when the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the Federal Highway Trust Fund could soon run out. This spurred debate about what to do with the trust’s main funding source, the federal gas tax. Some legislators have long wanted to raise this tax, and President Obama recently proposed his own $302 billion funding plan. But one Congressman, Georgia Republican Tom Graves, has a better idea: nearly abolish the gas tax altogether.

The only problem I have with this is the word, “nearly.” We should fully abolish the gas tax. The Transportation Empowerment Act is being co-sponsored by Mike Lee in the Senate.

Kyle Wingfield wrote about this issue in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Could Georgia use another $185 million this year to spend on roads, bridges and transit? You bet.

Now, what if I told you that money already exists, as gas taxes Georgia motorists already pay, but is going up in smoke like the rubber off a drag racer’s tire?

That $185 million figure is an estimate of Georgia’s combined cost of sending more gas-tax revenue to Washington than it receives back in federal grants and complying with federal regulations. That money will be at our disposal if the Transportation Empowerment Act becomes law and devolves much federal responsibility for transportation policy and funding to the states.

 “It’s rather silly that Georgia taxpayers pay taxes at the pump that go to the federal government that then tells our state how it must spend the money with all this red tape and bureaucracy — and by the way, we’re not even going to give you all the money you submitted,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, who introduced the bill in the House and whose office compiled the $185 million estimate for this fiscal year from various data sources.

The bill would reduce the federal gas tax to 3.7 cents a gallon from the current 18.4 cents a gallon over the course of five years. The federal government would retain responsibility for highway safety, research and roads on federal lands.

Everything else, from deciding what to build to maintaining what we have, would be up to the states — just as governors have asked of Washington since at least 1953.

First of all, it is not “rather silly” at all! It is outright robbery and plunder—with an additional dose of imperial overreach. It is one way the Federal parasite keeps swelling like a tick bloated on our blood.

We need to starve the beast. This is a clear issue in which we can begin to do just that.