The highway construction industry is calling for an increase in the federal gas tax. That tax – first imposed in 1932 at a rate of one cent per gallon – has been 18.4 cents per gallon for 20 years. Michael Sturino, head of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, says it should be raised to 32 cents, just to take into account inflation.
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“In order to have a safe, efficient drive that reduces wear and tear on vehicles, that increases the efficiency of getting from Point A to Point B, that is worth something, and we respect the American public enough to believe that they will support – perhaps grudgingly – that perhaps they should pay for this really great product, and that is our road network,” he said.
Sturino acknowledged that an increase in the tax would result in an increase in the price of gasoline, but he said at least the money would be going back into the Illinois economy. Inflation has eaten away at one-third of the purchasing power of the federal motor fuel tax since 1993.
Another factor is that the vehicles today are more fuel-efficient than those of 20 years ago, meaning they use the roads just as much, but they consume less fuel, so sax collection from their road use is less.