ARLINGTON, VA – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) is calling for a federal fuel tax increase in the United States, among other things, in order to fund a massive overhaul to infrastructure.
The research group released a report titled A Framework for Infrastructure Funding that outlines the funding possibilities for, what it calls, the Trump administration’s large-scale infrastructure vision.
The report says a federal fuel tax increase is necessary to fund the program because other methods, including mileage-based user fees and increased tolling on roadways, will fall short of the needed funds.
Mileage-based fees also come with an administration problem, ATRI says, and the creation of an agency the size of the IRS would be needed to track and enforce the fees on the more than 250 million vehicles in the U.S.
The federal fuel tax has not been raised in the U.S. in more than two decades, causing significant costs to system users, particularly the trucking industry, the group says.
The trucking industry contributes more than $18 billion in federal user fees each year, while increasing traffic congestion and freight bottlenecks are costing the industry more than $63 billion annually.
ATRI says its research also shows that a federal fuel tax increase will incentivize states to match the federal funds, moving the country closer to the investment goals proposed by the President and the United States Congress, while reducing the hardship on road users and the trucking industry.
Dennis Dellinger, president of Cargo Transporters says the new tax can produce more than just good roads.
“Maybe the most important and unexpected benefit of a federal fuel tax increase is the hundreds of thousands of new, high-paying construction jobs that will be produced,” he said.
ATRI is recommending a fuel tax increase of between 10% and 20%, which it says would give states an extra $15 billion to $30 billion annually, while adding nearly half a million jobs nationwide.
The report also indicates the cost of not doing anything to fix infrastructure will include a slowing of growth in areas such as e-commerce as freight deliveries fail to meet the demands of consumers.
Other funding suggestions the report makes include a new federal vehicle registration fee to fill gaps associated with electric vehicle use.