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Coming Pothole Penalty for Drivers Far Outweighs Modest Gas Tax Adjustment
Washington, D.C. (January 13, 2015) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement in response to growing bi-partisan discussion and support for adjusting the federal gas tax:
As the clock ticks toward the Highway Trust Fund once again facing insolvency, it is encouraging to hear growing discussion and support for real solutions to keep our roads and bridges safe.
The short-term patch passed by Congress last year did little to address the one in four bridges that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete or the potholes and poor road conditions that contribute to a third of traffic fatalities, costing more than 10,000 lives each year.
The current 18.4 cent tax has lost nearly half its value since it was last adjusted 22 years ago, contributing to our deteriorating and increasingly unsafe surface transportation system. The most realistic, viable and sustainable solution is a modest adjustment of the gas tax as the cost of gas has plummeted by 40% in just six months. That would be far less painful for drivers than the pothole penalty they are going to pay in just a few months as winter recedes.
Bi-partisan proposals in Congress would gradually adjust the gas tax by 12 cents to 15 cents a gallon, all of it safeguarded for our roads, bridges and transit systems. These proposals are winning supporting from Republicans, ranging from the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to the Chairman of Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, both of which play crucial roles in protecting the Highway Trust Fund.
We urge members of both the Senate and House to keep the door open and continue the discussion and movement toward the tried and true method of paying for a safe surface transportation, which is the gas tax.
The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.